The £2.3 billion merger of Ladbrokes and Gala Coral has completed with the newly formed company, to be named Ladbrokes Coral Group plc, becoming the largest retail bookmaker in the United Kingdom.
After Ladbrokes and Gala Coral agreed to sell 359 betting shops on the orders of the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the CMA gave the green light to the merger, which has taken 18 months to complete.
Speaking of the merger, Ladbrokes Coral Chief Executive Jim Mullen said: “This is a historic day for the Company and one which marks the start of an exciting journey for the business. Both Ladbrokes and Gala Coral have demonstrated their ability to compete hard and win in increasingly competitive markets.
“This will be the attitude of the management team going forward, to compete hard and set about quickly establishing the business while delivering the synergies as quickly as possible. We have a strong management team in place and have worked hard to secure the best talent from across both businesses and externally. We are all excited by the opportunities that lie ahead”
John Kelly, Ladbrokes Coral’s Chairman, said: “In uniting these two businesses we are bringing together some of the best known and admired brands in betting and gaming.
We believe that no other gambling business has such a strong heritage, with brands that enjoy such broad appeal and a presence that is woven into the fabric of the UK culture as well as overseas regulated markets.
Together, we have the opportunity to grow the business building on our scale, the digital opportunity we have in our markets, our international presence and through delivery of significant synergy savings.
We have a strong management team in place and are already well placed to set about the creation of a new business with a clear focus on delivering the opportunities the completion of the merger offers us.”
Upon the completion of the deal, Carl Leaver has become Executive Deputy Chairman, Paul Bowtell has become Chief Financial Officer, and Rob Templeman has become a Non-Executive Director.
The merger of Ladbrokes and Gala Coral continues the recent trend of gambling companies consolidating. GVC Holdings completed a reverse takeover of bwin.party digital plc in September 2015 with Betfair and Paddy Power merging in February 2016.
William Hill, the UK’s second largest bookmaker, has been the subject to takeover and merger speculation recently. William Hill offered $1.14 billion for 888 Holdings in February 2015, and were subject to a joint bid of £3 billion from Rank Group plc and 888 Holdings in July 2016 but the offer was rejected.
Recently, in October 2016, William Hill were touted as being in the market to merge with the owner of PokerStars, Amaya, but discussions about a potential deal were aborted.