LADBROKES PLEASED WITH COMPETITION AUTHORITY'S RULING ON RETAIL SHOPS
Last obstacle to merge with Coral removed.
Ladbrokes issued a statement Tuesday welcoming the final conclusions announcement by the UK Competition and Markets Authority that the merger with the Coral Group can proceed subject to the sale of 350-400 retail betting shops.
"This is a significant step forward and we will now begin to talk in earnest to potential buyers for these shops. We remain on track to complete the merger in the autumn," the company statement noted.
The CMA announcement follows its provisional conclusions in May this year (see previous InfoPowa report), in which Inquiry Chair Martin Cave commented:
“Competition comes from the choice of shops in their local area and they would lose out from any reduction of competition and choice. Discounts and offers of free bets to individual customers are two of the ways betting shops respond to local competition which could be threatened by the merger. Such a widespread reduction in competition at the local level could also worsen those elements that are set centrally, such as odds and betting limits.
“Although online betting has grown substantially in recent years, the evidence we’ve seen confirms that a significant proportion of customers still choose to bet in shops – and many will continue to do so after the merger. We therefore believe that a sale of shops of this scale is needed to protect these customers.”