Malaysian billionaire Quek Leng Chan’s Rank Group is already the UK’s second-largest operator
The acquisition of the casino arm of the gambling firm Gala Coral by Malaysian billionaire Quek Leng Chan’s Rank Group has been referred to the Competition Commission for scrutiny.
With 34 casinos trading under the Grosvenor and GCasino brands, Rank is already the UK’s second-largest operator. Only Genting, run by Lim Kok Thay, the scion of another Malaysian billionaire dynasty, is larger. The addition of Gala casinos would add a further 23 sites, giving Rank a commanding 40% share of UK casinos. The group also holds licences for further casinos, as does its controlling shareholder, Quek’s conglomerate Guoco.
If Rank’s takeover of Gala casinos goes ahead, the two Malaysian groups will together control 75% of UK casinos.
For many years the ownership of the stock market-listed Rank was fought over by competing Malaysian interests – Quek’s Guoco and Lim’s Genting. Genting became Britain’s largest casino operator in 2006 when it acquired Stanley Casinos. Guoco tried sought to apply for its own casino licences but after limited success started to acquire shares in Rank. Fearing Quek would take control of Rank, Genting swooped on shares, taking a large stake overnight in what appeared to be an attempt to thwart the takeover ambitions of Guoco.
The two Malaysian groups interest on Rank’s share register appeared to be in deadlock until last year when Genting seemed to surrender its interest in Rank to its arch-rival without a fight. Lim’s group sold its 11.6% stake – big enough to block a Guoco takeover – to Quek’s empire in a near nil-premium deal, baffling many analysts and industry experts.
That took Guoco’s stake to over 40%, triggering a mandatory takeover. Despite advice to the contrary from Rank directors, many smaller shareholders sold out – again without receiving a takeover premium – leaving Guoco with a stake of 74.5%.
The Office of Fair Trading said: “Rank and Gala are two of only three large national casino operators in the UK. This merger would represent a major consolidation, which could be expected to reduce competition, both locally and nationally. The high barriers to entry and expansion in the casino sector mean the loss of competition could potentially be irreversible.”
The proposed takeover by betting firm Rank Group of Gala Casinos is referred by the Office of Fair Trading to the Competition Commission.
See original here: Rank’s Gala takeover faces review
Philip Hammond unveils cost-cutting plan in bid to show all ranks are making savings
One in four senior military and civilian staff at the Ministry of Defence are to be axed over the next two years, the defence secretary, Philip Hammond, has said.
A new senior structure for the ministry will be introduced next year in an attempt to show that all ranks of the services are making savings, and the cuts are not falling disproportionately on serving lower ranks.
“At a time when we are making difficult decisions about defence spending and have had to accept reductions across the board, we cannot ignore the volume of posts at the top,” said Hammond. “For too long the MoD has been top heavy, with too many senior civilians and military.”
In July, Hammond announced that 17 units were to be axed from the British army as part of sweeping reforms that will reduce its overall strength by 20,000. There would be at least two tranches of redundancies next year and in 2014.
By April 2013, 26 civilian and military posts at the rank of Commodore, Brigadier, Air Commodore or above are expected to have been phased out, saving an estimated £3.8m a year. Following the change, the slimmed-down head office is expected to focus on strategic direction, and frontline commanders will start to take responsiblity for their own budgets.
The changes were recommended in a report in 2011 by Lord Levene, the former chairman of Lloyds of London. The 84-page report also recommended a joint forces command to break down rivalries and barriers between the army, air force and Royal Navy, and that senior military should lose their jobs if over-spending got out of control.
Profits at betting group Rank rise 9% thanks to growth in its Grosvenor Casinos business and its online operations.
See original here: Casinos and online bets help Rank
Baruto dropped the sledgehammer on rank-and-filer Myogiryu in another blitzkrieg Tuesday, continuing his brilliant form on the third day of the Spring Grand Sumo Tournament.
Baruto, who won the New Year meet in January and is making a bid at promotion to yokozuna, sits in a group of eight wrestlers sharing the lead, including lone yokozuna Hakuho, in the early going at 3-0.
See the article here: Baruto dominates in victory over Myogiryu
“We’re the law and you’re not,” the ECB seems to be saying to Greek bondholders as it gets to do a bond swap with no loss while private holders will have no such luck. It’s a violation of the principal that holders of the same paper rank equally, but the ECB, says Richard Barley, is more worried about its credibility. Post your comment!
Continued here: "We’re the law and you’re not," the ECB seems to be saying to Greek bondholders as it gets to do a bond swap with no loss while private holders will have no such luck. It’s a violation of the principal that holders of the same paper rank…