A bid to take over a major operator of online bingo in United Kingdom by a Hong Kong company was rejected. Guoco Groups Ltd. offered 150 pence per share for 10% of Rank Group PLC shares. Rank is a major European operator which runs a network of bingo clubs and casinos in the UK along with online gaming facilities and betting services.
Gouco Groups is owned by Quek Leng Chan, one of the wealthiest men in Malaysia, who has a net worth of over $4 billion. His company already owns 40.8 percent of Rank, and needed 10% more to become the majority owner. Rank rejected the proposal as “significantly undervaluing Rank and its prospects.”
Rank breathed new life into UK’s land-based bingo hall chain, and is one of the market leaders when it comes to online gaming. Its empire includes online casino, poker, sportsbook and naturally online bingo. All gaming facilities operate in full compliance with British gambling laws. Among others, Rank owns Mecca Bingo, one of the biggest online bingo sites in UK.
Guoco’s offer was required by law, following the company’s investment in Rank’s shares which brought up Guoco’s ownership of Rank to 40.8 percent. The investment company controlled by the Malaysian billionaire has been very supportive of Rank management. They, in turn, have showed extraordinary business acumen to keep the company alive throughout the recession.
Not only has Rank’s management saw the offer to be too low, but an analyst at Evolution Securities, James Hollins, commented on the bid: “We therefore conclude that Guoco is content to remain as a large shareholder in Rank, and that investors will and should reject the offer.”