Stanley Leisure in £639m takeover bid


A Malaysian gambling firm has mustered sufficient shares in Stanley Leisure, a major British casino company, to legitimise a takeover bid worth approximately £639 million.

Genting International succeeded in acquiring the 30 per cent stake in Stanley Leisure it needed to allow a full takeover bid after it persuaded Lord Steinberg, Stanley Leisure's chairman, to sell his shares in the firm.

With Lord Steinberg's 10.6 per cent of shares, Genting International's existing shares in the firm and the exercising of a call option, the Malaysian firm has mustered 30.5 per cent of the company's shares – exceeding the 30 per cent it needed to require a full takeover bid.

As a result the offer, worth 860 pence per share, was made and has been welcomed by Stanley Leisure's chief executive, Bob Wiper.

"We are pleased to announce this recommended offer from Genting International. We believe that it represents fair value and provides appropriate certainty for our shareholder," Mr Wiper said.

"We believe that, under Genting International's stewardship, exciting opportunities for the company and its employees will continue in the future."

The firm had been a joint venture partner and "supportive shareholder" in Stanley Leisure since November 2004, Mr Wiper added.

Stanley Leisure owns 45 casinos, including four in the UK. Ongoing plans for the development of "supercasinos" in different regions of Britain had encouraged massive interest in the untapped British market but political opposition has reduced the number from 20 to just one.

Despite this, Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, chairman of Genting International, looked forward to expanding in Europe in the long-term.

"We are delighted that the board of Stanley is recommending this offer and look forward to Stanley joining Genting International to create an even stronger base for its future in the UK and the rest of Europe," he said.

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