Ladbrokes-Coral merger near as Betfred and Stan James snap up 359 shops

- Leadership - Oct 17, 2016

Ladbrokes and Coral have agreed to sell 359 shops to Betfred and Stan James for a combined £55.5 million, paving the way for the long-awaiting merger of the two bookmakers.

Coral will be selling 174 stores for a total of £26.5 while Ladbrokes will sell the remaining 185 for £29 million. Betfred is buying 322 of the stores with Stan James taking the other 37. It is not known which stores are in question and whether any will close as a result of the move.

Commenting on the sale Jim Mullen, Chief Executive of Ladbrokes said: "The sale of these shops will clear the last significant hurdle to delivering on the merger with Coral and paves the way for our focus on completion and quickly delivering on the opportunities the merger offers."

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will now decide if it will approve the Merger upon the exchange of contracts, subject to the CMA's approval, for the sale of 322 shops to Betfred and 37 shops to Stan James. Once approval has been received, the parties will seek the CMA's consent to complete the Merger subject to the divestiture of one remaining shop.

It shouldn’t pose too much of a problem, as on 26 July 2016, the CMA published its final conclusions into the Merger in which it stated that the Merger could proceed subject to the divestment of 350 to 400 shops, and that completion of the Merger could occur when the shop divestment process was substantially complete.

At the moment, Coral has 1,850 shops in Britain and Ladbrokes 2,150, with another 77 in Northern Ireland. The merger would create the UK’s largest high street bookies, a move which has prompted William Hill to push for a merger with Canada’s Amaya, the parent of PokerStars.

Read the October 2016 issue of Business Review Europe magazine. 

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