|According to reports in The Telegraph, an offer from Las Vegas-based Harrah’s Entertainment to purchase a large portion of British land and online gambling group Rank has been rejected.|
The newspaper reported that the deal would have seen the Americans acquire 28 percent of the English company in return for Harrah's casino holdings in the UK. While this would have resulted in an enlarged Rank, it also would have meant significant American ownership.
A spokesman for Rank declined to comment, The Telegraph reported, while Harrah's could not be reached.
Rank’s shares have been battered over the past year after a smoking ban and the forced removal of lucrative slot machines sparked a sharp decline in its bingo business. In addition, a surprise hike in Government taxes hit its casino profits with industry experts reporting a string of names interested in the business including Ladbrokes and Malaysia's Genting.
Harrah's is currently in the process of being acquired by private equity fund companies Apollo Management LP and TPG Capital. It grabbed a foothold in the UK casino market last year after purchasing London Clubs International but a hole has been left in the deal’s finances due to the tax changes.