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Ladbrokes, Coral merger weeks away after shops sale

Mon, Oct 17, 10:28am by Staff Writer

Ladbrokes and Coral have moved within sight of their super-merger, after they agree to sell a swag of betting shops to their rivals.

The shake-up in the British betting market from the merger will see 359 betting shops being sold to Betfred and Stan James.

The two betting behemoths have been working through the details of their merger, which is expected to take place in the coming weeks after regulatory approval.

Part of that approval was conditional on them seeling up to 400 betting shops, a move which will yield the combined business an estimated 55 million pounds ($AUD90 million).

Betfred will take over 322 of the betting shops, while Stan James will take possession of 37 of them.

“The sale of these shops will clear the last significant hurdle to delivering on the merger with Coral and paves the way for our focus on completion and quickly delivering on the opportunities the merger offers,” Ladbrokes CEO Jim Mullen said.

Carl Leaver, CEO of Gala Coral said he anticipated a merger to occur within weeks.

“I am delighted that we have reached agreement with Betfred and Stan James to transfer our shops into their ownership,” he said.

“Whilst other potential purchasers were prepared to pay a significantly higher price, Betfred and Stan James delivered greater certainty which was critical to paving the way for the completion of our merger with Ladbrokes. ”

“Subject to CMA approval, we now hope to complete the merger before the end of October so that we can begin to realise the significant value available to both company’s shareholders.”

The merger is said to be worth close to 2 billion pounds (AUD $3.2 billion). It is not known what effect, if any, the merger will have on the Australian Ladbrokes business, which was launched in September 2013.

The Stan James shops could be set to undergo an immediate rebrand with Unibet having acquired Stan James Online in a July 2015 deal that included the Stan James brand.

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