|Hong Kong-based Guoco Group Limited has again increased its stake in British land and online gambling firm Rank, raising the ante in what could evolve into a bidding war with Malaysia’s Genting Group.|
Guoco is a subsidiary of investment group Hong Leong (Malaysia) Berhad run by Malaysian billionaire Quek Leng Chan and now holds 16.18 percent of the firm behind Mecca Bingo and Grosvenor Casinos. It has been gradually increasing its stake in Rank since January and is looking to build a base in the UK casino market.
Asia Fountain Investment Company Limited (AFI), a controlled undertaking of Guoco Equity Assets Limited, holds the voting rights for the new shares, with Goldman, Sachs and Company acting as custodian. Over 58 million of these have been registered in its name and it is expected that the balance will shortly be prescribed in a similar fashion.
Genting recently increased its shareholding in Rank to 12.67 percent after several incremental purchases while the Richardson family, whose interests include property and haulage, are believed to hold an eleven percent stake through contracts for difference.