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CMA rules that the Ladbrokes/Coral merger could result in the sale of up to 400 shops

It is far and away the most protracted gambling firm merger in history, as it seems that there is no end to the rumblings surrounding the deal between Ladbrokes and Coral. The proposed £2.3 billion merger has the potential to make the new gambling group the biggest in the UK, but that in itself is causing issues. Through notable objections, regulators believe that such would notably reduce customer choice.

Shop closures

Following an intense investigation, it seems that the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has deemed that this move would reduce choice for customers within a “large number of local areas in the United Kingdom”.As a result, should the merger go ahead, it is expected that Ladbrokes and Coral will be forced unload approximately 400 betting shops. Confirming the concerns of the CMA, Martin Cave (CMA Chairman) said, “We’ve provisionally found that the merger between two of the largest bookmakers in the country may be expected to reduce competition and choice for customers in a large number of key local areas”.Ladbrokes Avoided £54 Million Corporation Tax Bill


While it seems that any proposed merger will now come with key conditions attached, the announcement from the CMA does seem to represent significant progress. A statement from Ladbrokes following the CMA announcement tells a story in its own right, as it reads, “Our focus now will be agreeing the remedies with the CMA and finding the appropriate buyer or buyers for the shops”.

LSE listing

Finally moving ahead, if the merger is signed off on it would take the form of a structured takeover, as Ladbrokes would absorb Coral, before the “new company” would apply for a London Stock Exchange listing. 

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