Rank Group shows its hand in deal for Gala Coral

According to sources at the FT, Rank Group, the European gaming business that includes bingo and casinos in its operations, was linked to a possible takeover of Gala Coral. Gala Coral is the UK-based gambling company that covers bookmaking, bingo and casinos both on the high street and online. It is no stranger to deals, having been subject to two buy-outs in 2000 and 2003 and then a re-structuring acquisition by its mezzanine lenders in mid- 2010, at which point its PE backers Candover, Cinven and Permira divested their holdings in the company.

Rank Group itself was the subject of a battle for control in 2011, when Guoco Group, the Malaysian investment group increased its stake from 40% to 100% for just under £350m. Despite the board of Rank believing that the offer significantly undervalued the company, it was recommended to the shareholders, who duly accepted the offer.

If the deal proceeds, and as usual insiders are suggesting that the deal is at very preliminary stages, then this would see Gala – the last company in the UK that covers all aspects of leisure gambling – possibly taken into foreign ownership.

Filed under: gaming, PE, dealmaking