Ladbrokes and Coral Merger Approved
Top sportsbook brands Ladbrokes and Coral have decided to merge and the idea has finally been approved by the Competition and Markets Authority. The CMA has approved the merger and the brands will now have to sell off at least 350 to 400 betting shops to be a less competitive entity.

The companiesí combined will own more than 2,000 betting shops so having to sell between 350 and 400 is not a huge hit to the soon to be merged brands. Analysts had felt that the brands would have to sell as much as 1,000 betting shops so the lower number is much appreciated.

The CMA came to this decision after completing an investigation in regards to the merger. Back in May it was concluded that as many as 400 shop sales would be necessary. This amount is about one tenth of the combined estates of the two companies. With the sale of the shops, it will provide less competition for over 600 areas.

So now that so many betting shops are up for grabs, who will make a play for them? Both Boylesports and Betfred have shown interest in the shops along with a few private equity firms. No information has been provided as to if all the shop will be sold as one or broken up as well as if any proposals have been made as far as offers for the properties are concerned.

Martin Cave, of the CMA, stated that both parties must now propose a divestment package and then name one or more suitable purchasers that the group must approve before the deal can be finalized. Both Coral and Ladbrokes are agreeable to the ruling of the regulator and look to complete the merger by this fall. The ruling by the CMA is considered a significant step forward and the companies look to talk to potential buyers for the shops they must unload.

- 2016-07-26

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