UK gaming companies, Ladbrokes and Gala Coral have announced that in preparation for their planned merger, they will need to cut up to 50 percent of their London workforce.

The £3.3 billion merger of the two companies would result in an enlarged operation with the highest number of betting shops in the UK. The entity will be based at Gala Coral’s headquarters in Stratford.

An internal email sent by Gala Coral’s chief executive, Carl Leaver, warned that in an effort to prevent duplication of positions “around 600, maybe up to 700, fewer positions” will exist in the merged company. This is equivalent to around 50% of the workforce of both companies combined. In addition, he revealed that Ladbrokes’ headquarters in Rayners Lane, North West London, which has a staff of around 1,000 people, would be shut down.

A smaller corporate office will be opened in Victoria Street. The job cuts are expected to start in November and the companies have announced that those who stay in the merged entity would be decided “purely on merit.”

All staff who are dismissed will be offered redundancy payments of two weeks’ pay for every full year of service at the company, with a minimum of eight weeks and a maximum of 40 weeks pay available.

There had been speculation since June that the Rayners Lane offices would close when it was revealed that a planning application had been submitted to convert the site into 103 apartments.

In addition to the job cuts, Ladbrokes and Coral will be selling off between 350 and 400 betting shops across the UK to comply with the Competition and Markets Authority who required this move to ensure no loss of competition in specific areas. Irish bookmaker, Boylesports is expected to make a bid for the shops.