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Mecca Bingo parent drops interest in Gala Coral Casino purchase

  • 01 Apr 12
  • Written by Deena Chance

altThe Mecca Bingo parent, Rank Group has dropped its interest in the Gala Carol casino business, including its bid which was said to be worth £250m. If the deal had have gone ahead, then The Rank Group would have been the owners of the largest casino operation across the UK.

The two groups are said to have been in talks for awhile but only revealed that discussions had been ongoing in January. However, on 28th March both companies confirmed that discussions had now closed as they failed to agree acceptable terms. Speaking on behalf of The Rank Group, Ian Burke, their chairman and chief executive explained in a statement that the terms of the potential purchase did not adequately meet their expectations in terms of value for their shareholders. With the end of this deal, The Rank Group have gone onto say that they will continue with their successful organic growth programme and aim to have another 12 G Casinos open by 2015. The G Casino brand is the predecessor of their Grosvenor Casino brand, and as the rebranding is completed so they have been able to attract a younger, more vibrant client base.

The Rank Group owners of the Mecca Bingo chain and have similarly modernised their bingo halls, introducing new, exciting bingo games and electronic bingo terminals that appeal to a younger audience. Figures from earlier in the year suggest that all has been going well for the brand since the changes.

Gala Coral on the other hand is looking at bleaker times, since they were taken over by creditors in 2010. As a brand they have naturally been weakened by this and the debt restructuring deal that came with it meaning the company are extremely vulnerable to takeover. However, their terms for an acceptable deal clearly priced The Rank Group out of the market on this occasion and it remains to be seen if anybody else has shown interest in the brand.

Rank will clearly be disappointed that they didn’t manage to clinch a deal but they are sticking to their core values that no acquisition will adversely affect their shareholders position and share value so those with shares in the company should be happy with the outcome. The company’s majority stake is owned by Malaysian gambling group Guoco and if the acquisition of Gala casinos had been successful, The Rank Group would have seen themselves as the top casino operator in the UK, with 61 outlets. However, it was not to be and as their organic growth continues, it is unlikely that this minor setback will put an end to the Rank Group’s development and expansion plans.


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