GVC ups stakes in UK gambling with $5.2 billion Ladbrokes bid

Bookmaker GVC Holdings has wanted to buy Ladbrokes Coral for $5.2 billion to produce a global online and traditional betting giant in a position to undertake rivals and cope with a good tougher regulatory environment.

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

The proposed takeover would give it access to the Ladbrokes, Coral and Gala brands and the combined company would contend with William Hill and Paddy Power Betfair.

The two groups said in a joint statement on Thursday they were in detailed talks over a deal that could give Ladbrokes shareholders around 46.5 percent of the combined group.

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

The final price will depend on the outcome of a government review into fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs). The devices are big moneyspinners for businesses like Ladbrokes nevertheless they have come under fire for departing gamblers with very heavy losses.

“The enlarged group will be an online-led globally positioned betting and gambling business that would benefit from a multi-brand, multi-channel strategy applied across some of the strongest brands in the sector,” the firms said.

“The enlarged group will be geographically diversified with a large portfolio of businesses across both regulated and growing marketplaces, with the scale and means to handle the dynamics of a rapidly changing global industry.”

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