Rank disposal fuels takeover speculation

13 December 2005 by
Rank disposal fuels takeover speculation

Rank Group, the owner of the Hard Rock Café chain, is facing renewed bid speculation as it nears the disposal of its Deluxe film processing division.

This subsidiary is widely seen as a poison pill, as any buyer of the whole group would have to deal with a range of powerful customers in connection with the change of ownership of this division.

But last week Rank said it was making steady progress with the sale and has identified preferred bidders.

Once the deal goes through, it is expected that a range of bidders will emerge for what remains of Rank, which includes Mecca bingo, the Hard Rock chain and the Grosvenor casinos.

Private equity groups are thought most likely to bid, but some are tipping Hilton Group as a possible buyer through its Ladbrokes betting arm.

By Andrew Sangster

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