Ladbrokes Coral in £3.9bn takeover talks with rival GVC

Shares in Ladbrokes Coral were up by more than a quarter in early trading despite uncertainty over the government’s consultation over fixed-odds betting terminals

Shares in Ladbrokes Coral were up by more than a quarter in early trading despite uncertainty over the government’s consultation over fixed-odds betting terminals

Based on these terms, GVC shareholders would hold roughly 53.5% and LCL's 46.5% of the enlarged business.

Ladbrokes Coral says it is holding "detailed discussions" regarding a takeover offer from rival GVC that values the bookmaker at £3.9bn ($5.2bn).

Shares in the 230-year-old Ladbrokes jumped 26 percent in early trading, while GVC shares rose 6 percent on confirmation of the long-rumoured offer, which is in cash and shares.

GVC, which boasts 79 million registered accounts and operates in 21 languages through names such as sportingbet and partypoker, previously bought bwin.party in 2016.

Ladbrokes completed its £2.3bn merger with Coral in November previous year, but it is understood GVC first approached Ladbrokes over a tie-up when it was finalising the deal. On Thursday they said GVC had made a non-binding cash and shares offer to Ladbrokes, with the final price determined by the outcome of the government's review into gambling machines in United Kingdom betting shops, which could hit profits at the target company.

The review is part of a government crackdown on FOTBs after MPs raised concerns the machines were too addictive and fuelled problem gambling.

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GVC chief executive Kenneth Alexander is expected to lead the combined group, although the companies said plans for the final management line-up would be worked out over the coming weeks.

Based on the share prices of the two companies at close of business on 6 December, the possible offer values Ladbrokes Coral at 160.9p per share, plus a CVR of up to 42.8p per share.

The companies added that a merger would enhance the enlarged group's position in a number of regulated online gaming markets, including the UK, Italy and Australia, and would boost GVC's current share of revenues from locally regulated and taxed markets to more than 90%.

It announced last month that the maximum stake would be cut from £100 to between £2 and £50.

GVC expects the deal to boost earnings from its first full year after completion, even if the Government decides on the biggest possible curbs on gaming machines.

"GVC got lucky at the third attempt and LCL shareholders can count their winnings", said analyst Neil Wilson at ETX Capital.

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