Rank Group edges closer to finalising Stride acquisition

3 October 2019

Rank Group has taken a step closer to completing its acquisition of online casino and bingo operator Stride Gaming after a court sanctioned the agreement.

In May, Rank, the operator of the Mecca Bingo and Grosvenor Casino, made an offer of £115.3m (€129.5m/$141.7m) to purchase Stride’s entire fully diluted share capital.

Stride shareholders overwhelmingly voted to back the deal in July, while the GB Gambling Commission last month also gave the green light to the acquisition.

Rank also required court approval in order to proceed with the deal, and with the court having sanctioned the agreement, it is expected that Stride shares will stop trading on AIM by 6pm today (October 3).

Dealings in Stride shares will be suspended at 7.30am on October 4, while Stride has also made an application to AIM for the cancellation of the admission to trading of Stride Shares on AIM, effecting from 7am on October 7.

Upon originally tabling the offer, Rank said the merger would create a business with genuine scale and capability in the digital market, with pro forma digital net gaming revenues of approximately £185m.

Rank also said the acquisition would help to improve its performance and reduce costs through migration to Stride’s proprietary technology platform and in-house ecosystem.

In addition, Rank said that the merger would create significant value from strong synergies and offer greater financial flexibility to the combined business, while bolstering its management team with the addition of senior Stride staff.

In August, Rank reported a 22% year-on-year decline in operating profit in its annual figures, despite digital growth driving an improved performance in the six months to June 30, 2019.

Operating profit fell to £39.0m from £50.1m, while like-for-like revenue fell from £731.3m to £729.5m, although statutory turnover edged up from £691.0m to £695.1m.