GVC rejects reports over Turkish business divestment

8 July 2019

GVC Holdings has denied media reports it continues to benefit from its former Turkey-facing subsidiary Headlong Limited, stressing that it has no ties with the business it divested in November 2017.

Reports emerged in the English media over the weekend that claimed GVC senior executives had links with the management of Ropso Malta, the business that agreed to acquire the Turkish subsidiary Headlong, in November 2017. Ropso completed the purchase in December 2017, with GVC waiving the agreed €150m (£134.4m/$168.2m) fee after it struck a deal to acquire Ladbrokes Coral.

GVC has now moved to clarify its position, explaining that the divestment was subject to an arms-length competitive process, overseen by US investment bank Houlihan Lokey, with all details of the transaction already made public.

Its decision to walk away from the earn-out was a specific condition of the Ladbrokes Coral deal, as recommended by the operator's board of directors as a way to allow the acquisition to go ahead without regulatory delays, it added.

“The board today re-iterates the fact that subsequent to the disposal of the group's Turkish-facing business, GVC has no activity either directly or indirectly linked to the Turkish market,” GVC said. “Furthermore, the board also categorically refutes suggestions that the group, or senior management, continue to benefit from any operations servicing the Turkish market.

“The business continues to perform strongly and is focused on taking a market leading position in the US and other regulated markets.”

Shares in GVC Holdings were trading down 6.38% at 633.83 pence per share in London Monday (July 8) afternoon.