BUSINESS

Rank S&P rating raised and signs X Factor deal; Betfair grooming new chairman; Betfred signs sports clothing agreement

TAGs: Betfair, Betfred, Facebook, Rank Group, X-Factor

Simon Cowell

Simon notices something Rank

UK gambling industry firm Rank had its credit rating raised off the back of a more stable outlook. Standard & Poor raised the company’s corporate credit rating from “B+” to “BB-“. Much of it comes back to a ruling by the European Court of Justice to allow them to retain VAT returns of £253.4million. S&P added: “The stable outlook reflects our view that Rank will continue to report satisfactory operating performance and positive free cash flows, and will retain what we deem to be adequate financial flexibility.”

On the same day, the firm inked a deal with Fremantle Media, and Syco, to be the official gaming partner of the X Factor. The deal, reported by eGR, means the operators brands, which include Mecca Bingo, Grosvenor Casinos and Bluesquare.com, have the chance to develop a number of games including X Factor Bingo, slots and mini games. An online variant of the bingo offering will hit the market in Q2 2012, Mecca working hard with Virtue Fusion to create the product. In addition, the brand will develop socially and could take advantage of any gaming industry expansion onto Facebook. Angus Nisbet, gaming director for Mecca bingo at Rank Interactive, told eGR the most “exciting” part of this deal is to “take the brand into the social space.”

Betfair is wasting no time getting its new team in place with the addition of a new deputy chairman. Gerald Corbett joins the board on 3rd January 2012 and will eventually become chairman in the first quarter of the year as Ed Wray relinquishes the position. You may recognize Corbett as his career has seen him with a number of significant director posts. These include Railtrack and Woolworths, with Wray commenting: “This appointment lays the foundations for us to complete our succession plan and enables us to revert to standard governance practice. I look forward to working with Gerald and ensuring a smooth transition for him into the role of Chairman.”

Bookmaker Betfred has signed a deal to become the exclusive betting partner of online sports retailer Kitbag.com. The partnership will benefit both sides of the deal as members of both sites get free bets and discounted sports merchandise and equipment. Rakesh Chablani, Commercial Director of Betfred.com, said: “The partnership between Betfred and Kitbag will offer users of both websites access to exclusive promotions and offers, further enhancing the user experience across the board. With free bets and top quality prizes to be won, the partnership is great news for sports fans.”

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