According to a report in The Irish Independent, Ireland’s largest independent bookmaker, Boylesports, looks set to lose its bid for Ladbrokes and Coral betting shops to UK-based bookmaker, Betfred.
In July, the Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) announced that in order for Ladbrokes and Coral to be approved for their £2.3 billion merger, they would be required by to sell off 360 to 400 betting shops in the UK. Boylesports indicated interest in the shops, describing them as “a great opportunity to introduce fresh competition to the UK retail betting market.” Boylesports, which operates more than 200 betting shops in the Republic and Northern Ireland said that buying these shops would be an opportunity to expand in the UK.
Boylesports made a bid of £102 million earlier this year for the shops; however industry experts now believe that the company will be unsuccessful in its bid. It has not been revealed how much Betfred offered for the 360 betting shops that are being sold off; however the company’s founder, Fred Done, made no secret of their interest in purchasing the Ladbrokes-Coral shops soon after the CMA plans were revealed. William Hill was also considered a serious contender for the shops.
According to the CMA, by selling the betting shops to “one or more buyers”, competition concerns that were highlighted in more than 600 different locations, will be resolved.
Betfred is already one of the largest bookmakers in the UK with 1,370 betting shops. Prior to the merger agreement, Ladbrokes operated around 2,150 betting shops in Britain and another 77 shops in Northern Ireland. Coral operates 1,850 betting shops in Britain with the merger between the two companies resulting in the largest bookmaker in the UK.