Ladbrokes Coral in talks over takeover by GVC

Ladbrokes Coral in talks over takeover by GVC

Ladbrokes Coral and GVC are back in "detailed" takeover talks

The Ladbrokes Coral Group PLC (LON:LCL) (LCL.L) share price has risen 25% today after it announced that it is in detailed discussions regarding a potential combination with GVC Holdings PLC (LON:GVC) (GVC.L).

Based on a closing GVC price overnight of 911.5p and 135.65p for Ladbrokes, the offer would values Ladbrokes Coral at £3.1bn or 160.9p per share, with the CVR of up to 42.8p per share potentially taking the total value up to £3.9bn.

In a joint statement, the companies said GVC has offered to buy Ladbrokes Coral for about £3.9bn.

It would see Ladbrokes Coral shareholders own around 46.5 per cent of the combined group and GVC around 53.5 per cent.

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Shares in Ladbrokes jumped almost 30% on the news during early trading in London.

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

The determination of the senior management positions are to be finalised over the coming weeks, but both parties have agreed that GVC's Kenneth Alexander will be the CEO of the enlarged group following completion.

The final value of the deal is dependent on the outcome of a Government review of controversial fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs), which could see the maximum stake on the gaming machines reduced to as little as £2. Although there has not been a firm offer, the two companies appear to be positive about the potential for a deal to be done.

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

Ladbrokes Coral and GVC Holding said that Thursday's announcement does not amount to a firm intention to make an official offer.

"The enlarged group would have strong growth prospects with momentum in its online businesses, potential for material synergies including the use of leading proprietary technology, and the opportunity to select the best of both people and operations".

For fast-growing GVC, which since making the jump from AIM to the full list last year has grown organically and through acquisitions such as Bwin.Party, this is its third attempt at a tie-up with Ladbrokes, following talks in August and a first tilt last year.

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