William Hill ponder bid

William Hill is considering a move for the leisure company Rank Group PLC, who own the Hard Rock café business. William Hill join Ladbrokes and a number of other American ventures that have all shown interest in the company.

Analysts have predicted that a bidding war may well develop, as Rank also look for a buyer for their Hard Rock café business. It is estimated they could command a figure of £500 million for the business.

On Friday, Rank announced that US investment company Fidelity has built up an 11 percent holding in the company, just days before they release their trading update which is also expected to include news about a potential buyer for Hard Rock.

According to one city analyst, it is doubtful that William Hill and Ladbrokes would be able to afford Rank with the Hard Rock café still part of the business, so they may well wait until any future deal is completed before they make their move.

“An American company such as Harrah could afford the whole thing, but British trade buyers such as William Hill and Ladbrokes will probably wait until Hard Rock is out of the way”.

Rank chief executive Ian Burke announced last summer that they were mulling over the possibilities for Hard rock café as Rank look to focus more on their casino and bingo operations.

However, owing to increased competition within the gambling industry online and offline, a substantial offer may prove too tempting to resist.

Editor, Jackpot.co.uk - 2006-12-04 11:00:09

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