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LONDON-Malaysian gaming group Genting has plans to buy UK-based Stanley Leisure for euro 942 million only days after Harrah’s bought London Clubs International. A statement by Genting, which already owns 20% of Stanley, said it would buy the rest of the shares for £484 million, or 860 pence each. The price represents a 26% premium to Stanley’s closing stock price on Friday, a day before the bid was announced.

The takeover comes just days after Harrah’s broke up a proposed nil-premium merger between Stanley and London Clubs International by offering to buy LCI for £280 million. Genting, which owns 30% of LCI and has been eyeing a full merger, has said Harrah’s cash offer of 125p a share for LCI meant a merger was off. It has yet to say what it will do with this stake in LCI.

Genting said on Monday it bought 5.3% of Stanley shares from the UK company’s chairman Leonard Steinberg, and would buy another 5.3% stake from him under a call option. This raises Genting’s stake in Stanley to 30.5%, triggering a takeover law that requires it to make an offer for the remaining shares.

Overseas interest in the UK’s gaming market is growing ahead of the government’s selection of the location for 17 new casinos, including one regional, Las Vegas-style casino.

The takeover of Stanley is part of a broader international expansion plan by Genting whose position as Southeast Asia’s leading casino operator is under threat. The company has struggled to expand in Asia. It has been unsuccessful in getting a casino license in Macao, which has become Asia’s main gambling center and a global rival to Las Vegas. It is also facing increasing competition with rival casinos operating in Australia, the Philippines and Cambodia. Genting is competing for the license for Singapore’s second casino on the city-state’s resort island of Sentosa.

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