Wednesday March 6, 2013 : RANK AGREES REVISED TERMS WITH GALA CORAL
Gets the nod from the Competition Commission but with amendments
The conditional agreement for the acquisition of the Gala Coral Group's Gala Casinos Limited (GCL) announced by Rank Group Plc in May 2012 has finally made some progress following the United Kingdom Office of Fair Trading's referral to the Competition Commission for review and its subsequent report.
The Competition Commission has given the nod for Rank's purchase of 19 of the 23 casinos originally included in the original agreement, which had since lapsed while under the various reviews by the OFT and the Competition Commission.
Under the terms of the new revised conditional agreement with Gala Casino 1 Limited (Gala Casinos), Rank will acquire 19 casinos, along with the three non-operating licences (subject to certain agreements with the Competition Commission) for a total cash consideration of GBP 179 million.
The amended acquisition is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2013 but is conditional on the disposal of its non-operational licence in Edinburgh, Rank having in place third party financing and Gala Coral having received certain lender consents.
The sale will cover the transfer of around 2 220 Gala Casino employees to the Rank Group and a transitional services arrangement has been agreed with Gala Coral who will provide certain services for a limited period to facilitate a smooth transfer of the business.
Rank will become the largest casino operator in Great Britain by number of casinos following this acquisition. The company envisages the roll-out of its "G Casino" format to eight Gala casino locations, while the general rebrand to Rank will extend the Grosvenor brand into eleven new cities.
Rank's anticipated investment in the acquired estate includes approximately GBP 25 million over two years to roll-out the ‘G Casino' format to eight Gala casino locations and to upgrade the Gala Casinos' estate, which includes the implementation of branding and IT systems.
Commenting on the transaction, Ian Burke, chairman and chief executive of Rank said: "This acquisition enables us to capitalise on our proven record of operational excellence in the British casino sector and is expected to be earnings enhancing in the first full year of ownership. By rolling out the ‘G Casino' format into the Gala estate and expanding the Grosvenor Casino brand into 11 new cities, we will accelerate the growing awareness of the brand and support the development of a multi-channel gaming business."
"This transaction will crystallise significant value for Gala Coral's shareholders and debt investors. I want to recognise the contribution and commitment of the Gala Casino team, who have been operating the business in extremely difficult circumstances", added Carl Leaver, Group chief executive officer of Gala Coral in a separate statement.