Warrington-based Betfred is widely tipped to have tabled the winning bid for the 360 betting shops being sold as part of the £2.3 billion Ladbrokes and Gala Coral merger.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) gave the green light to the Ladbrokes and Gala Coral merger on the basis they sold a number of their betting shop. Initial reports suggested up to 1,000 shops would have to be sold, but the CMA then set the figure at “between 350 to 400 licensed betting offices.”
Ladbrokes currently operates 2,154 betting shops in the United Kingdom and Coral approximately 1,850. Without the sale of the 360 betting shops, the merged company would have more than 4,000 outlets, dwarfing the 2,370 shops of the next biggest bookmaker William Hill.
Irish bookmaker Boylesports, founded by John Boyle in 1982, made a bid of €118 million earlier this year, but industry insiders have reasons to believe that Betfred has pipped them to the post. Boylesports has more than 200 shops in the Republic and Northern Ireland, employing 1,700 people.
Betfred is considered to be one of the so-called “Big 4” bookmakers in the UK thanks to its retail portfolio of 1,370 betting shops. Founder Fred Done has made no secret that his company is interested in purchasing some of the Ladbrokes-Gala Coral real estate despite the fact Betfred reported losses of £76 million for the year 2015.
Betfred has been looking to expand its business having purchased The Tote in 2011 in a deal worth £265 million. Ironically, Boylesports were reportedly interested in buying The Tote three years early for more than €500 million.
An official announcement about the winning bid for the 360 Ladbrokes – Gala Coral betting shops is expected within the next few days.
Lead image courtesy of the Manchester Evening News