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UK competition watchdog green-lights Rank-Gala deal

Competition Commission demands divestment of 4 casinos

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The UK Competition Commission has granted its approval to London-listed gaming operator Rank's acquisition offer for private equity owned casino business Gala Coral.  

However, in a statement on Tuesday, the watchdog demanded some changes to the original deal agreed by both parties in May 2012 which has since lapsed.

With both still pursuing the deal, the Competition Commission has ruled that the deal will be permitted as long as the casinos in Aberdeen, Stockton-On-Tees, Bristol and Cardiff are not included.

Additionally, Rank must sell the gaming licence it holds in Edinburgh to a buyer approved by the Competition Commission or it will also be prohibited from buying the Gala casino in Edinburgh. Further analysis had cleared Liverpool from being one of the problem areas in terms of gaming competition concerns.

Martin Cave, deputy chairman of the Competition Commission, said, "We think that removing the casinos in problem areas from the deal and requiring Rank to sell the Edinburgh cold licence to an upfront buyer will protect the interests of customers."

"The excluded casinos are all profitable and so we believe that they will continue to act as viable competitors to Rank in these areas," he added.

Rank's initial offer for Gala Coral was valued at £205 million. The valuation of the reduced bid is awaited.



UK competition watchdog green-lights Rank-Gala deal
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