No Approach For Rank
By Staff
According to numerous reports out late last week, Kuala Lumpur-based gaming and leisure group Genting International has not made a bid approach to British casino operator Rank Group and is unlikely to be preparing one.

Although Genting said in an e-mail that it did comment on media speculation, a source close to the situation told Reuters last week that the rumoured bid was ‘wholly inaccurate’.

Rank shares jumped 13 percent on Tuesday on the back of a story in the UK’s Daily Mail newspaper reporting that the Malaysian giant, already an eleven percent shareholder, had approached the UK firm with a cash offer.

Genting bought into the British casino market in 2006 when it acquired the biggest player, Stanley Leisure, for $1.27 billion but it would likely face competition concerns if it purchased Rank.

The Maidenhead-based firm has had a bad year as its bingo clubs have been hammered by a ban on smoking and the forced removal of nearly 1,000 lucrative slot machines alongside its casinos being hit by a surprise tax hike. Its share price slumped more than 20 percent after a profit warning in October and in December it scrapped its final dividend and shelved over $59 million in projects. Takeover speculation began in February after Rank unveiled plans to transfer its pension liabilities to an insurer, making it a more attractive target in the view of some analysts, and Genting’s purchase of a significant amount of shares.

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