Hard Rock Cafés sold to Seminole Hard Rock Entertainment

On March 5, 2007, The Rank Group plc completed the US$965 million sale of its Hard Rock cafés, hotels and concert venues to Seminole Hard Rock Entertainment Inc. The deal, which followed a three-way auction that included private equity bidders, involved more than 120 restaurants, hotels and casinos in 45 countries. As part of the transaction, The Rank Group sold the shares of HRC Canada Inc., which owns the Hard Rock Cafés in Toronto and Montreal, and has franchised restaurants in Ottawa and Niagara Falls.

The Rank Group plc, headquartered in Maidenhead, UK, focuses on the operation of bingo clubs and casinos in the United Kingdom, and online gaming and bookmaking services. Seminole Hard Rock Entertainment is controlled by the Seminole tribe, the first Native American tribe to enter the gambling industry when it opened a bingo operation in 1979 in Hollywood, Florida.

In Canada, Torys LLP represented The Rank Group plc with a team that included Don Roger, Phil Mohtadi, Glen Johnson and Stephen Jaggers (corporate, real estate and securities); Carolyn Naiman (competition); Michael Rotsztain (restructuring); John Unger and Shiyamala Devan-Ramdas (tax); Robin Coster (IP); and Mitch Frazer and Stacey Parker-Yull (pension and employment).

Heenan Blaikie LLP represented Seminole Hard Rock Entertainment Inc. in Canada with a team that included Eric Levy, Subrata Bhattarcharjee and Suzanne Owen (corporate and securities); Mark Jadd (tax); Cyndee Togham Cherniak (licensing); and Tony Kiru and Marco Gammone (real estate and leasing).

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer acted as UK and European counsel to The Rank Group plc and DLA Piper US LLP acted as its US counsel. Greenberg Traurig, LLP represented the Seminole tribe and Seminole Hard Rock Entertainment Inc. in the United States.