|According to the Sunday Times newspaper, private-equity firm Duke Street Capital has made an offer to Rank for its Mecca bingo operation but the gaming firm's board is not believed to be interested in making a deal.|
The newspaper stated that Duke Street had written to Ian Burke, Chief Executive for Rank, with its proposal but that discussions have not yet taken place.
The offer is one of several that Rank, which also owns the Grosvenor casino chain, has received in the past few months. It reportedly rebuffed a proposal from Harrah's, the American casino company, to buy a stake in the business in exchange for its British casinos. Other parties that could be interested in bidding for Rank include Aspers, a joint venture between Damian Aspinall and Australian tycoon James Packer, and Ladbrokes.
Rank has been the subject of intense speculation in recent weeks following a downturn in trading at its bingo arm in the wake of a UK smoking ban. Malaysian gaming group Genting picked up a ten percent stake, which fuelled gossip that it could be interested in bidding, while property developer Richardsons Capital has also built an interest.