Tuesday, 12 December, 2017

GVC close to £3.9bn takeover of Ladbrokes Coral

Ladbrokes Coral Ladbrokes Coral
Conrad Doyle | 07 December, 2017, 13:04

Bookmaker GVC Holdings has offered to buy Ladbrokes Coral for up to $5.2 billion to create a global online and high street betting giant able to take on rivals and cope with a tougher regulatory environment.

Ladbrokes Coral - which operates 3,500 shops across England, Wales and Scotland - would receive 32.7p in cash and 0.141 ordinary GVC shares for each Ladbrokes Coral share.

It would lead to Ladbrokes Coral shareholders owning about 46.5% of the combined group and GVC about 53.5%.

In a joint statement, the two firms said GVC's chief executive Kenneth Alexander would be the boss of the enlarged group.

Both companies believe that the group would be geographically diversified with a large portfolio of businesses across both regulated and developing markets.

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Shares in Ladbrokes jumped almost 30% on the news during early trading in London.

Last month, GVC announced the sale of its Turkish subsidiary, removing a potential obstacle to a deal with Ladbrokes, which had raised this as one sticking point during August's talks. Discussions in the summer broke down over a price dispute shortly before the government's gambling review. On Thursday they said GVC had made a non-binding cash and shares offer to Ladbrokes, with the final price determined by the outcome of the government's review into gambling machines in United Kingdom betting shops, which could hit profits at the target company.

The news follows a wave of consolidation in the sector, which is going through a hard shift from high street betting shops to online gambling.

They added that the enlarged group would benefit from operating different brands across different markets including the UK, Italy and Australia.

"The enlarged group would have strong growth prospects with momentum in its online businesses, potential for material synergies including the use of leading proprietary technology, and the opportunity to select the best of both people and operations".

Ladbrokes Coral has received a non-binding proposal from GVC regarding a possible offer for the entire issued and to be issued share capital of the company.

GVC has also bulked up with a takeover of bwin.party, owner of sites such as Party Poker.

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