Ladbrokes Coral Merger Given Green Light

The planned merger between UK bookies Ladbrokes plc and Gala Coral Group Ltd has finally been green-lit by UK regulators who have been satisfied with the new company's (to be known as Ladbrokes Coral) proposal to sell off 350-400 of thier shops.

The deal, which has been in the pipeline for a year now, was being held up by the regulators who had concerns about the impact of the merger which could have lead to a"substantial lessening of competition" without the release of some of their 4,000 strong estate.

It was thought that in order to get past the regulators the new group may have to agree to sell more than has now been agreed. There has already been interest in the sites for sale from Irish bookie Boylesports and Betfred, as well as from "several private equity firms".

Earlier this year Paddy Power merged with Betfair to create Paddy Power Betfair and according to a report in the Telegraph, the deal "heaps pressure on William Hill, which has been left behind by the spate of deal-making and become isolated."

As we reported last week, however, 888 and Rank Group are currently looking to potentially buy-out the huge UK bookies in what represents a complete turnaround in circumstance after William Hill actually tried to buy 888 just 18 months ago.

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