The Malaysian Guoco investment group has upped its stake in British online and land gambling group Rank plc for the third time this year, raising its holding to 12.67 percent.
 
The company, which bought the Clermont Club in London's Berkeley Square from Rank in 2006 for GBP 31 million (see previous InfoPowa report), has increased City speculation that a bid for the Rank group is being contemplated. Rank has been under pressure for the past year due to falling business occasioned by smoking bans and tighter gaming machine restrictions in the UK.
 
Subsidary BIL made a loss in the first six months of the Clermont ownership and has won only four out of 19 licence applications to build casinos in Britain. Guoco is not the only party considering Rank. The Richardson family, whose businesses are in property and haulage, is believed to have an interest of about 11 percent in the company.
 
Malaysian group Genting, which owns Stanley Leisure also holds an 11 percent stake in Rank, although it has notified the market that it has no intention of making any offer in the forseeable future.