Hard Rock on the Block?
The rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle is as unpredictable as ever. Throw casinos into the mix and you may have a recipe for disaster. But when it comes to a giant in both industries, it’s all business. Rank Group, an international gaming and leisure conglomerate and one of the UK's largest gaming businesses, is poised to sell the Hard Rock Café brand to focus on gambling in Great Britain.
And people who stand to gain are getting twitchy. Shares in Rank, which sold its DVD and film production businesses last year, rose 2.5 percent on the London Stock Exchange after people caught wind of the Hard Rock chain's "potential strategic options.”
The sale of the Hard Rock restaurants, renowned more for their museum-like atmosphere of rock bric-a-brac than their fajitas or Haystack Chicken Salad, would leave Rank to concentrate on just its gaming operations in Britain: Mecca Bingo and Grosvenor Casino. This comes as the proverbial word on the high street is that gambling laws are predicted to ease up.
Just a brief history lesson: The first Hard Rock Café descended on London's Piccadilly in 1971—round about the same time as John Lennon’s Imagine and Ziggy Stardust. Now there are 120 outlets in over 40 countries and Rank owns about 70 of the restaurants. Questions still circulate if they’re selling out, man.