Ladbrokes Coral is in 'detailed talks' on a £3.9billion takeover by gaming company GVC.

Ladbrokes in talks to sell to ‘Foxy Bingo’ owning GVC

Bookmakers’ chain Ladbrokes Coral is in ‘detailed talks’ on a takeover by gaming company GVC in a deal worth £3.9billion.

GVC, which is the parent company of a number of gaming brands such as Sportingbet and PartyCasino, has tabled a cash plus shares bid valuing Ladbrokes at 160.9p a share, with a variable portion on top worth up to an extra 42.8p a share.

The deal would see Ladbrokes Coral shareholders own around 46.5 per cent of the combined group and GVC around 53.5 per cent, should it go through.

Ladbrokes Coral is in 'detailed talks' on a £3.9billion takeover by gaming company GVC.

Ladbrokes Coral is in ‘detailed talks’ on a £3.9billion takeover by gaming company GVC.

Ladbrokes Coral shares rocketed 24 per cent to 168p on the news, reflecting the implied value of the offer, including the variable element.

Ladbrokes has nearly 3,700 branches on the UK high street, while Isle of Man-based GVC has a raft of brands after a series of acquisitions, most recently snapping up bwin.party in February last year.

GVC chief executive Kenneth Alexander is expected to head up the combined business with the rest of the management line-up worked out over the coming weeks.

The talks follow two previous attempts at a deal between the pair, with earlier discussions in the summer breaking down over the price of the deal.

The final price that GVC is prepared to pay for Ladbrokes depends on the outcome of the government’s review of fixed-odds betting terminals (FOTBs), which could see the maximum stake punters are allowed to put into the machines slashed to as little as £2 from the current £100.

This is the latest potential deal amid a wave of consolidation in the betting sector, which has been under pressure due to the expected government clampdown.

New legislation is expected to significantly cut earnings from the lucrative betting machines, which have been dubbed ‘the crack cocaine of gambling’.

A promotion for Foxy Bingo, which is owned by the Ladbrokes Coral bidder, GVC.

A promotion for Foxy Bingo, which is owned by the Ladbrokes Coral bidder, GVC.

Ladbrokes completed a £2.3 billion merger with Coral in November last year, and it is understood GVC first approached Ladbrokes over a tie-up when it was finalising that deal.

GVC said it expects ‘material synergies’ from a merger with Ladbrokes, which it would lay out in any forthcoming firm offer.

The combined group’s operations would sprawl across some of the world’s biggest regulated gaming markets, including the UK, Italy and Australia.

GVC said: ‘The enlarged group would be an online-led globally positioned betting and gaming business that would benefit from a multi-brand, multi-channel strategy applied across some of the strongest brands in the sector.’

‘The enlarged group would be geographically diversified with a large portfolio of businesses across both regulated and developing markets, with the scale and resources to address the dynamics of a rapidly changing global industry.’

Posted on; DailyMail>>

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