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Rank make £250m indicative bid for Gala Casinos

Rank Group has launched an indicative bid of £250m for Gala Coral’s casino division which, if successful, would see the company become the biggest casino operator in the UK by number of venues.

Rank currently operates 36 casinos in the UK, but if the deal goes through Gala’s 25 operations would also come under their control.

The company hopes to broaden the appeal of Gala venues to under-35s and women, just as it has been doing with its own casinos.

The group – which operates the Mecca Bingo brand and Grosvenor Casinos – had previously said they hoped to have increased their number of casinos to 45 by 2015, but this move could see them far exceed that target by the year’s end.

A successful bid would also see Rank overtake Malaysian giant Genting, which currently owns 46 UK casinos, as the biggest firm in the sector.

Gala Coral currently has a net debt of £2.1bn. In the full-year results it released in September 2011, Gala reported a post-tax loss of £634.4m, which it attributed primarily to exceptional costs.

Jack Watkins
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