Irish independent bookmaker BoyleSports has publicly ‘communicated its concerns’ to the UK Competitions & Markets Authority (CMA) regarding the sale of 359 retail betting shops as part of the pending Ladbrokes-Coral merger.
The bookmaker was disappointed to have had its larger bid turned down by Ladbrokes and Coral governance in favour of a lower combined £55.5 million cash bid by UK market rivals Betfred and Stan James.
Dependent on Ladbrokes-Coral gaining CMA final merger approval, UK independent bookmaker Betfred will be able to acquire the 322 estates for £55 million, Gibraltar-based operator Stan James has agreed to acquire the remaining inventory of £500,000.
Issuing a corporate statement, BoyleSports noted the following concerns to the CMA regarding the sale of the betting shops.
“BoyleSports, Ireland’s largest independent bookmaker, is disappointed Ladbrokes and Gala Coral have decided to sell their 359 shops to existing UK retail competitors. The BoyleSports bid was higher than the reported sale price, was fully-funded, was cognisant of the changing political and regulatory UK landscape, and could have been completed within two weeks of acceptance.”
Last August BoyleSports owner John Boyle had detailed to the Irish Business Post that his firm was prepared to pay £100 million in order to acquire Ladbrokes-Coral merger ‘off-cuts’.
The Irish operator viewed the purchase of the betting shops, as critical to expanding its operations within the saturated UK betting market, and would express further competition concerns to the CMA;
“BoyleSports believes the decision not to allow a challenger brand onto the UK high street is bad for retail consumers who would have benefited from the keen pricing and excellent service already available to our existing Irish retail customers and to online customers in Ireland and the UK.
“BoyleSports will be communicating its concerns to the Competition and Markets Authority and is reviewing its options on what other steps may be open to us.”