|Gambling group Stanley Leisure was today given a deadline to decide whether or not to bid for rival operator London Clubs International.|
The Takeover Panel said Stanley Leisure must either announce it is making an offer or say it is not proceeding by noon on January 22nd.
The ruling comes one month after an approach by Stanley valuing LCI at 25p per share, or around £37 million, was rejected.
LCI, which runs eight casinos in the UK including Les Ambassadeurs and The Golden Nugget in London as well as four overseas, ran into trouble after the collapse of a gaming venture in Las Vegas forced it to write off its £130 million investment last year.
But a strong performance both at home and abroad pushed the group’s turnover up to £75.2 million from £69.5 million and cut operating losses from £114.5 million to just £279,000 in the six months to September 30 2002.
LCI told Stanley on December 5 that its indicative offer did not “merit any further discussion”.
The company described the approach as making a “long and unacceptable list” of preconditions including paying back its debt at a discounted rate.
Liverpool-based Stanley Leisure owns 40 casinos and 630 betting shops across the UK, the Isle of Man, Jersey and the Republic of Ireland.
All parties have accepted today’s ruling.
Shares in Stanley Leisure were up 3p at 393.5p today while LCI shares were down 0.75p at 24p.