Cameron Murphy18.10.2016

Irish bookmaker, Boylesports, is turning to the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) claiming to have made a higher bid than the price accepted by Ladbrokes and Gala Coral for the sale of their retail betting shops.

The UK’s competition watchdog required the sale of between 350 and 400 retail betting shops in order to approve the merger of the two UK bookmakers. The two companies agreed to sell 359 shops to prevent concerns over competition in areas around the country and Boylesports made no secret of their interest in bidding for the shops.

In a statement on Monday, Ladbrokes and Coral revealed they agreed to sell the shops for £55.5 million, with Done Brothers (Cash Betting) Limited, trading as Betfred, to purchase 322 shops for £55 million and Stan James (Abingdon) Limited to purchase the remaining 37 shops for £500,000.

Boylesports; however, is claiming to have bid higher than the accepted purchase prices and has made it clear that it is consulting its solicitors with the plan to contact the CMA to express its “concerns”.

“Boylesports believes the decision not to allow a challenger brand onto the UK high street is bad for retail consumers who would have benefited from the keen pricing and excellent service already available to our existing Irish retail customers and to online customers in Ireland and the UK,” read a statement by Boylesports.

In response to the claims by Boylesports, Ladbrokes said: “Failed bidders are well within their rights to raise their issues with the CMA, but we are comfortable with our decision based on the bids received in the process.”

The contracts will be exchanged only once the CMA has approved the agreements and once the merger between Ladbrokes and Coral has been completed.