Ladbrokes Coral agrees £4bn takeover by GVC

22 December 2017

GVC is set to acquire Ladbrokes Coral after having a bid of up to £4bn (€4.5bn/$5.3bn) accepted by the gambling giant’s board.

GVC chief executive Kenneth Alexander, whose company already owns the Bwin, Sportingbet and Foxy Bingo brands, described the takeover deal as "a truly exciting prospect".

The acquisition is expected to be completed during late Q1 or early Q2 2018, with GVC shareholders to hold 53.5% of the combined group.

The companies said the group will be “a fast-growing, diversified, international online and retail sports betting led gaming group with more than 90% of net gaming revenue generated from locally regulated/taxed markets.”

The base value of the deal is £3.2bn, rising to £4bn under certain circumstances, with annual savings of £100m anticipated.

Alexander said: "The creation of one of the world's largest listed sports betting companies, combining a portfolio of established brands, proven technology and leading market positions in multiple geographies, is a truly exciting prospect.

“In a dynamically evolving industry, the transaction creates an enlarged group with the scale, diversity, proprietary technology and management expertise to pursue many opportunities globally.

“GVC has a proven track record of creating shareholder value through the successful integration of acquired businesses and the GVC board believe this transaction will create further value for our shareholders and those of Ladbrokes Coral."

As revealed when detailed talks between the two parties were first announced, the final worth of the deal is dependent on the government's review of gaming machines. The bid would be worth around £4bn should FOBT stakes be limited to £50, with the offer dropping to £3.2bn if the limit is £2.

Ladbrokes Coral chairman John Kelly said: "In its relatively short time as a merged entity, Ladbrokes Coral has demonstrated why scale can be so effective in this market.

“The management team have delivered a very successful merger that has created a leading betting and gaming business built on strong brands well positioned in key markets.

“We have a leading multi-channel offer that utilises our retail and on-line businesses and offers us a promising future.

“The acquisition has compelling strategic rationale allied to an opportunity to use the best of both from proven management teams and will create material shareholder value. It secures earlier delivery of our long-term value potential, which is why the board of Ladbrokes Coral has unanimously recommended GVC's offer."

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