After months of negotiations and seemingly a stalemate, The Rank Group has finally confirmed their purchase of twenty-three Gala Coral casinos for a price of £205m. This deal is huge for the gambling industry as it puts Rank as the leading casino operator in the country, with over fifty separate sites in their ownership. The deal that took place over the last weekend also included the purchase of three non-operating licences.
The Rank Group, known for their ownership of both the Grosvenor brand and Mecca Bingo, are controlled by the Malaysian based Guoco Group who hold majority shares in the company. This latest purchase has been in part attributed to the growth of Rank share prices rising at an exponential rate which has been attributed to their successful organic growth programme. Shares have of course risen further thanks to the confirmation of this deal, with a 4% rise confirmed on 14th May.
The purchase of twenty-three outlets from Gala has put the Rank Group ahead of all its competitors and when the deal completes, which is planned for September, they will be the country’s leading provider of land-based casinos, a great achievement and something the team at Rank are keen to capitalise on.
Over the past year, they have been working tirelessly on a rebranding and refurbishing exercise across both their Grosvenor and Mecca Bingo brands, providing a brand new, fresh feel to their outlets, inviting in a younger demographic and this has seen their popularity boosted. In the case of their bingo centres, the group believe the introduction of tablet based bingo games has increased their popularity and the rebranding of the Grosvenor chain as G Casino has gone a long way to creating a new and contemporary image for their casino arm. The majority of the outlets acquired from Gala will also find themselves under the new brand and this should give the company a chance to capitalise on its purchase.
On the other hand, the Gala Coral group has been in and out of deep water since debt reorganisation took place in 2010 and saw them taken over by a private equity firm. Despite losing their sites to a clearrival, their chief executive Carl Leaver still said he believed the business would ‘continue to go from strength to strength’ under its new ownership. With the figures backing this up and The Rank Group showing no sign of slowing, it’s clear to see that they are likely to become more and more successful as time goes on.