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Board changes recommendation to shareholders
The Rank Group Plc (Rank) has changed its recommendation to its shareholders on an offer of 150p per share from Guoco Group in time for the closing of acceptances of the offer.
While Rank maintains that the offer undervalues the company, it notes that should Guoco attain 75 percent of Rank shares it will be in a position of being legally entitled to de-list the company which would leave those shareholders who rejected the offer without the protection available to them under Listing Rules.
Should the company be taken "private", Rank's Board believes "the move would significantly reduce the liquidity and marketability of the Rank shares which have not been accepted into the Offer and the value of the shares may be significantly adversely affected as a consequence".
Although Guoco has announced its intention to maintain the listing it has reserved its right to consider all options available.
The Board's independent directors will be accepting the offer for their own beneficial shareholdings and have recommended Rank’s shareholders follow suit.
The Financial Times reports that "investors understood the board's concerns but many were deeply disappointed. “I’m gutted,” said one. “The company’s been stolen, really.”
Richard Colwell from global asset firm Threadneedle said: “We’ve had extensive engagement with management since the bid process started. They’ve obviously had a lot of advice, and there’s been a lot of debate. They did this with a heavy heart.”