In an move that could turn Ladbrokes Coral into a company worth nearly £4bn, the UK betting giant is in “detailed” talks for a takeover by online competitor GVC.
Under the proposals, GVC – which owns the Bwin and Sportingbet brands – would hold 53.5 percent of the combined group.
The move could lead the biggest shake up of the UK betting industry since, well, Ladbrokes merged with Coral last year.
The talks come after the government’s Triennial Review proposed a cut on the size of stakes gamblers can make on FOBTs from £100 to potentially £2.
Fearing a strain on profits, betting industry giants are considering their options to shore up cash. Industry experts reckon it may not be the only acquisition or merger to take place in the near future.
Under the proposed takeover deal, GVC will pay 160.9p for each Ladbrokes Coral share, which would value the company at £3.1bn.
However, if the outcome of the government’s review of gaming terminals is favourable to the gambling industry, and imposes a less punishing limit on FOBTs, then GVC will pay Ladbrokes Coral shareholders a so-called “contingent value right” of up to 42.8p per share – which could value the company at up to £3.9bn.
No word yet on whether the company will be known as GVC Ladbrokes Coral, or by another mouthful of the sort.