Directors at Rank resign

Kasmira Jefford
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BRITISH bingo and casino operator Rank Group said its chief executive and finance director both quit yesterday over the £586m bid approach by Guoco, the investment group run by Malaysian billionaire Quek Leng Chan.

Ian Burke, chief executive and Paddy Gallagher, finance director stepped down a day after the board changed its recommendation yet again on how investors should respond to the offer of 150p-a-share from the group.

Rank’s board had initially rejected the bid in May, only to change its stance last Thursday on concerns that shareholders risked being left holding a minority stake in a delisted company, making it hard for them to sell their shares.

That recommendation was then changed again on Monday, with the board telling investors it felt that the offer still undervalued the company and that shareholders “who are not concerned that the listing may at some stage be cancelled” should reject the bid.

In its statement yesterday Rank said Burke and Gallagher disagreed with this, saying that after talks with institutional shareholders, that it was now “more than likely that the offer will result in a cancellation of the listing of Rank’s shares”.

Rank declined to comment further. Shares in the group fell 0.2 per cent and closed at 149.60p.