The Times has reported that Rank Group governance are considering a £1.6 billion tie-up with 888 Holdings, following the pair’s failure to lure William Hill into a three-way merger.
Following its H1 2016 results in which Rank would declare adjusted group profits of £77 million, CEO Henry Birch revealed to Reuters News that his firm was actively looking for potential merger and acquisition targets.
“The company has been looking at M&A for the last 18 months and continues to do so and there is definitely a focus on the digital arena for that.”
As leader of Rank, Birch notes the changing landscape of the UK gambling sector which has witnessed mass industry consolidation forming giant enterprises in Paddy Power Betfair and Ladbrokes Coral.
Rank’s CEO states that UK gambling operators are now facing new market realities and challenges when competing against new industry giants , hence its consortium attempt to form a Rank-888-William Hill tie up would have been a logical step, setting a new paradigm for the industry.
Under these heavyweight conditions, Birch details that gambling operators would have to provide a strong product offering across digital and retail channels.
When questioned by The Times on a potential merger with 888, Rank’s CEO stated “We are in ‘no comment’ territory here but, yes the same rationale applies”.