The £2.3 billion merger of British high street bookmakers Ladbrokes and Gala Coral has been hit with further delays after the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) delayed its provisional decision on the merger.
Business website City A.M, claims an industry source revealed to them that the CMA’s decision was due on or before April 18, but the deadline is now highly unlikely to be him, although the final decision on the merger should still take place on June 24.
Once the merger is complete, the newly formed company, Ladbrokes Coral, will own more than 4,000 betting shops in the United Kingdom, pushing William Hill, with just under 2,400 shops, into second place. William Hill has already opposed the merger, calling it anti-competitive.
Ladbrokes and Gala Coral expected to be instructed to dispose of between 300 and 500 betting shops between them in order to quell concerns about competition, but City A.M. says the figure could be closer to 1,000 high street betting shops.
Neither Ladbrokes, Gala Coral, or William Hill had commented at the time this article was written.
The Ladbrokes Coral merger is the latest in a recent trend of consolidation in the gambling sector, an industry that has seen profits take a substantial hit after the UK tightened its regulation of such companies.
In February 2016, GVC Holdings completed the reverse takeover of bwin.party digital entertainment plc, while the merger of Paddy Power and Betfair created the world’s largest listed online gambling company.