Monday, 18 December, 2017

Ladbrokes Coral in talks over takeover by GVC

Ladbrokes Ladbrokes and Gala Coral completed a merger last year
Laurie Berry | 07 December, 2017, 15:36

GVC, the Isle of Man, owns online betting portals such as Bwin and Sportingbet.

GVC's offer values Ladbrokes Coral at 160.9 pence per share, equating to a total equity value of around 3.1 billion pounds, plus a contingent fee of up to 42.8 pence a share, meaning the bookmaker could be valued at as much as 3.9 billion pounds.

This is the third time in a 12 months when GVC Holdings has held merger talks with Ladbrokes Coral, which is now one of the largest bookmakers not only in the United Kingdom, but globally as well.

A joint statement released by the two companies said the potential deal will give GVC shareholders ownership of 53.5% of the combined firm, with Ladbrokes shareholders holding the rest.

It is expected that the proposed offer would include a mix and match facility whereby Ladbrokes Coral shareholders may elect to receive more cash or more shares in GVC, subject to offsetting elections being made by other Ladbrokes Coral investors. The outlook for these outlets is unclear pending the outcome of the government review of fixed-odds betting terminals.

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

"GVC's recent move to exit Turkey cleared the last barrier and LCL shareholders should be pleased to see the firm is now better insulated against the vagaries of the United Kingdom market", said Neil Wilson, senior market analyst at ETX Capital.

Australia Parliament Passes Same-Sex Marriage Bill
Gay marriage was endorsed by 62 percent of Australian voters who responded to a government-commissioned postal ballot last month. And I said to LGBTIQ Australians in particular, you have given us a gift. "This is a day for every Australian".

Following its so-called triennial review, the government said in October that the maximum stake allowed on FOBTs could be sharply cut over concerns they fuel addiction.

The companies had previously held talks about a deal earlier this year but they broke down without agreement. Although there has not been a firm offer, the two companies appear to be positive about the potential for a deal to be done. "You can only sit and wait for so long".

Last year Paddy Power merged with its digital rival Betfair and Ladbrokes merged with Gala Coral.

Alexander said buying Ladbrokes Coral would not leave GVC over-exposed to declining betting shops. The latter would fall as online grows, he added.

Now, the Boards of GVC Holdings and Ladbrokes Coral have revealed their belief that a deal between the operators could create material shareholder value that would position the combined company as a leading gaming and betting business on a global scale.

Houlihan Lokey and Investec are advising GVC on the deal, while Ladbrokes Coral is working with Greenhill and UBS.

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