Labrokes Coral in £3.9bn takeover talks with Foxy Bingo owner

Newbury Races

The two groups said in a joint statement on Thursday they were in detailed talks over a deal that would give Ladbrokes shareholders around 46.5 percent of the combined group.

Shares in Ladbrokes jumped almost 30% on the news during early trading in London. However, the final price that GVC is prepared to pay for Ladbrokes Coral depends on the outcome of a review of Fixed-Odds Betting Terminals.

Gambling giant Ladbrokes Coral could be taken over by bookmaker GVC Holding in a deal worth £3.9bn.

Ladbrokes completed its £2.3bn merger with Coral in November previous year, but it is understood GVC first approached Ladbrokes over a tie-up when it was finalising the deal.

GVC, which boasts 79 million registered accounts and operates in 21 languages through names such as sportingbet and partypoker, previously bought bwin.party in 2016.

Both companies believe that the group would be geographically diversified with a large portfolio of businesses across both regulated and developing markets.

The companies had previously held talks about a deal earlier this year but they broke down without agreement.

Should GVC go ahead with the offer, Ladbrokes Coral shareholders would receive 32.7p in cash and 0.141 ordinary GVC shares for each share, as well as a potential further value of up to 42.8p structured as a contingent value right. Analysts and executives had expected the government review to spark a new round of consolidation in an industry that has been marked by near constant dealmaking.

The review is part of a government crackdown on FOTBs after MPs raised concerns the machines were too addictive and fuelled problem gambling.

It announced last month that the maximum stake would be cut from £100 to between £2 and £50. There could also be synergies from the deal, while the Board of GVC also believes that the transaction would be double digit EPS accretive from the first full year post-completion.

He highlighted that Playtech may see some potential impact on one of its most important licensees, with its stake in Ladbrokes Coral worth close to 80p per share. GVC closed at 909 pence, valuing it at 2.77 billion pounds.

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