Out-Law News

Planned merger between Ladbrokes and Gala Coral subject to in-depth competition investigation

The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is to conduct an in-depth investigation into the proposed merger of Ladbrokes and Gala Coral.

The regulator said that completion of the reported £2.2 billion deal could result in "a substantial lessening of competition in relation to the supply of fixed odds betting products" in licensed betting shops across "a large number of local areas" where Ladbrokes and Gala Coral both operate.

The CMA said it would also assess "other potential competition concerns raised by the merger" in its in-depth investigation. A decision on whether to approve the transaction is due to be issued by 24 June 2016.

Andrea Coscelli, CMA executive director of markets and mergers, said: "As the second and third largest bookmakers in the country in terms of betting shops, the merger could affect competition in the very large number of areas where their shops overlap. As such it warrants an in-depth investigation so we can look in detail at these and other potential competition concerns. The fast-track request means that the inquiry group can now get started with that investigation."

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