Dec 7, 2017

Ladbrokes Coral and GVC in renewed merger talks

Online gambling group GVC and UK bookmaker Ladbrokes Coral are in talks over a £5.7bn merger to create one of the world's largest betting groups, in a move expected to kick off a new round of dealmaking across the industry. The groups said on Thursday they were in "Detailed discussions" over a combination, after Isle of Man-based GVC made an offer that values Ladbrokes Coral at up to £3.9bn. It is the third time in a year that the internet gaming group has held talks with Ladbrokes Coral, which has 3,500 high-street stores, over a tie-up. Past talks between GVC and Ladbrokes Coral have broken down due to disagreements over how to value the companies, an issue exacerbated by the uncertainty surrounding the UK government's review into the gambling sector. At this top end, Ladbrokes Coral would be valued at £3.9bn. Ladbrokes Coral's share price rose more than 24 per cent in early trading to 169.7p. GVC's share price rose close to 5 per cent to 955p. GVC intends to pay for Ladbrokes Coral with a combination of cash and stock, though any additional uplift will be covered through the issue of loan notes. Mr Alexander said the proposed combination would give GVC entry into the UK and Australia, two of the world's largest regulated gambling markets, while Ladbrokes Coral would gain its rival's technology and expertise on internet gambling.

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