Suspects of takeover following yesterday\’s debacle

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The Malaysian casino operator Genting Berhad might launch a takeover on Stanley Leisure.

The UK\’s bookmaker and casino operator shocked the market yesterday revealing that it had lost about £10m, including more than £3m to a single high-roller casino player, just six weeks after chairman Lord Steinberg sold £36m worth of shares. The shares fell 11% to 381¼p, a six-month low and a much lower price than the 450p at which Lord Steinberg sold 8m shares in the business to Genting Berhad.

At the time of the share sale, Stanley warned it had been suffering from “less favourable sporting results” at its 628 betting shops, but said its London casinos “have enjoyed a good first half”.

Yesterday, Stanley said “unfavourable sporting results within the Betting division have continued.”

A Stanley spokesman added “all this has happened in the past six weeks so there\’s absolutely no way Lord Steinberg could have had any knowledge of this when he sold his shares.”

Only the Board of Stanley could recommend Genting for a takeover. Having the Asian gaming giant undertaken, it will not make a general offer for shares in Stanley for a period of three years.