UK-based betting shops, Ladbrokes and Coral, have agreement to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) requirement to sell off betting shops ahead of their planned merger. Ireland’s Boylesports remains interested in buying the shops, although they may face competition from other bookmakers.
According to the CMA, the companies will need to sell between 350 and 400 betting shops to prevent loss of competition in local markets. Ladbrokes currently operates 2,154 betting shops across the UK, while Coral operates a further 1,850. The then second largest and rival bookmaker, William Hill, operates 2,370 shops so the combined Ladbrokes-Coral company would significantly outnumber the next in line.
In a statement, the CMA has announced that Ladbrokes and Coral have agreed to the stipulations.
“On 26 July, 2016, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced that Ladbrokes and Coral must sell around 350 to 400 licensed betting offices (LBOs) in order to obtain clearance of their merger and preserve competition in 642 local markets where the companies’ betting products overlap,” read the statement on the website.
“Ladbrokes and Coral have offered undertakings to sell the required number of LBOs to a suitable buyer to be approved by the CMA. The CMA now invites written comments from interested parties.”
Ireland-based bookmaker Boylesports announced their interest in acquiring the shops earlier this year, as part of their strategy to expand within the UK. However, it is likely they will face competition from other big names in the industry, such as William Hill, Paddy Power, Betfred and Stan James, who may be looking to expand their portfolio.
The proposed merger is expected to create a combined worth of approximately €2.7 billion. This is the latest in a range of mergers within the UK gambling industry.