Rank Group is to sell its Hard Rock restaurant, hotel and casino division to Seminole Hard Rock Entertainment, a subsidiary of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, for $965m (£490m). The deal will allow Rank to focus on its gaming business. The enterprise value of the deal is $975m including the assumption of approximately $10m of capitalised leases. Rank will return £350m to investors through a special dividend after the sale is completed in March 2007. Ian Burke, the group’s chief executive, said: “Today's announcement sets a clear strategic course for Rank as a focused gaming business. We have maximised the value of Hard Rock through this disposal following a thorough strategic review and competitive auction.” The group has also appointed Peter Johnson as chairman from 1 March 2007, replacing Alun Cathcart. The news came as the group reported results for the 48 weeks to 26 November. At Hard Rock's company-operated cafes, like-for-like sales were ahead 6% for the year to date, with a 7% increase in sales of food and beverage and a 5% rise in merchandise. Total sales from company-operated cafes had grown by 8%. At Mecca bingo clubs in Scotland were hit by the smoking ban, although clubs in England and Wales saw revenue rise by 1% with a 2% rise in spend per head off-setting a 1% decline in admissions. The group said that, since the introduction of the smoking ban in Scotland, year-on-year revenue had declined by 15%, with admissions down 6% and spend per head down 9%. The company said: “We have enjoyed some success with electronic bingo, linked interval games and other technical innovations. “However, there is more that we can do to mitigate the full impact of the ban, including the development of new games as permitted under the 2005 Gambling Act.” At Grosvenor Casinos revenue has grown by 6% with admissions rising 4% and spend per head up by 2%. However, Rank added: “A number of our casinos have been impacted by an increase in competition. Despite growth in consumer demand, the potential for over-supply of casinos in certain local marketplaces remains a concern.”