British gaming and betting giant Rank will have to sell as many as six casinos if it wants to revive its £205 million takeover of rival Gala Casinos.
That’s the word from the U.K. Competition Commission, which took up the proposed purchase of 23 Gala casinos and three dormant Gala licenses back in August.
Rank had offered to sell five casinos in its initial submission to the Office of Fair Trading, but the commission’s view is that the deal as currently proposed could impair competition in Aberdeen, Liverpool, Stockton-on-Tees, Bristol, Cardiff and Edinburgh, where Rank holds a license but does not operate a casino.
If the merger proceeds, it will see Rank, which is majority-owned by Malaysia’s Guoco Group, and Malaysia-based rival Genting as the only major casino operators in Britain, and Martin Cave, the commission’s deputy chairman, said, “This will leave a number of areas with much reduced competition where casino customers could consequently lose out through a poorer casino offer.”
The commission is scheduled to publish its final report in February.