Irish bookmaker, Boylesports, has confirmed their intention to offer a €118 million bid for 360 UK betting shops being sold by Gala Coral and Ladbrokes as part of their merger requirements.

The Competition and Markets Authority identified 642 local areas that could be impacted by reduced competition due to the merger of bookmaker giants, Gala Coral and Ladbrokes. In July, it announced that the companies would need to sell off between 350 and 400 betting shops in order to receive final approval for the €2.4 million merger.

UK betting company, Betfred, has been viewed as a potential buyer for the shops; however Boylesports indicated interest early on and has made no secret of its intention to offer a bid as a way to increase its presence in the UK. It announced that it is currently reviewing its bid in order to be able to make a formal offer by the Friday deadline.

“The plan is to expand our regional presence in Britain,” stated Jenna Boyle, retail director at Boylesports.

“What we would like to happen would be an acquisition of the larger scale. The Gala Coral-Ladbrokes merger presented an opportunity for us which we definitely need to look at, so we’re driving that process.”

“It would establish us in the UK. It’s fairly early doors; we’re at the starting line with it.”

If their bid is successful, this would be Boylesports’ first expansion outside of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland where it operates more than 200 retail outlets.

“In phase one there are in the order of 360 shops that are being looked at,” said Ms Boyle. “The next thing is getting past phase one – we’ll know much more at that stage.”