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UK Rank Buys Blue Square

20 January 2003

LONDON – As reported by Reuters: "Rank Group, owner of Grosvenor casinos and Mecca bingo halls, says it is buying the unlisted Internet and telephone gambling company Blue Square for 65 million pounds (US$105 million).

"Rank, also owner of the Hard Rock restaurant chain, said in a statement on Monday that it would pay the 65 million pounds in loan stock convertible into Rank shares at 282 pence. Rank shares ended up 0.1 percent at 253-1/4 pence.

"The Blue Square business, established in 1999, has about 113,000 regular customers and will create a combined on-line betting, with Rank's existing business, with a turnover of 400 million pounds a year from 129,000 regular users.

"…Rank said its 2002 results are expected to be in line with expectations, as trading in November and December followed the trends set out in the group's November trading update…"

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