Cameron Murphy27.07.2016

Irish bookmaker, Boylesports, has indicated it may bid for some of the retail betting shops that Ladbrokes and Gala Coral will be selling off as part of their merger. The Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) requires the bookmakers to sell between 350 and 400 betting shops in order for their merger to be approved.

John Boyle, chief executive and founder of Boylesports welcomed the news, stating it fits into the company’s plan to expand within the UK.

“Boylesports, Ireland’s largest independent bookmaker, has a long-stated ambition to create a retail presence of scale in the UK,” stated Boylesports.

“This finding represents a great opportunity to introduce fresh competition to the UK retail betting market.”

“Boylesports would welcome the opportunity to bring to retail customers in the UK, the same value and quality service which have been the hallmarks of its Irish business.”

Ladbrokes operates around 2,227 retail betting shops throughout the UK, while Gala Coral operates around 1,850. The CMA wants the companies, the second and third largest bookmakers in the UK, to sell their shops to prevent a loss of competition in 642 local areas.

The £2.3 billion merger will see the companies overtake William Hill as market leader. This week, William Hill reported it received a preliminary takeover introduction from Rank and 888 Holdings; however it seemed unimpressed with the suggestion.

“It is not clear that a combination of William Hill with 888 and Rank will enhance William Hill’s strategic positioning or deliver superior value to William Hill’s strategy,” the company stated.

Boylesports also recently acquired four former Hackett’s Bookmakers retail betting shops after the Irish company was placed in liquidation last month. Boylesports continues with its acquisitions and growth strategy with this latest deal.