|Asia-based Guoco Group Limited has increased its stake again in Great Britain’s second largest bingo club and casino owner, Rank Group, to 12.67 percent.|
At the beginning of the month, Guoco held a 12.02 percent stake in Rank but has been gradually increasing this since January when it held around four percent. This latest move will further fuel speculation that Guoco intends to takeover the ailing operator as it now holds 49.5 million shares and the voting rights that go along with them.
Rank has been subject to takeover speculation since Malaysian gaming group Genting purchased a 9.38 percent shareholding last year and subsequently boosting this to around eleven percent. In addition, the Richardson family, which owns a property development and haulage empire, are also thought to have amassed a stake in Rank via contracts for difference.
Last month, Rank revealed that its sales had declined by eight percent following the introduction of the UK’s indoor smoking ban. It countered by opening sheltered outdoor gaming areas and installing remote play equipment at its bingo halls.