The agreed £2.3 billion merger of Ladbrokes and Gala Coral which awaits final approval from the UK Competition and Markets Authority, will likely see hundreds of retail outlets controlled by the operators placed up for sale.
The new business entity which will form the UK’s biggest retail bookmaker with a combined 4000 outlets, will likely be forced to sell parts of its retail inventory in order to satisfy UK competition concerns.
Furthermore irrespective of UK competition concerns, it is highly likely that the merged enterprise will look to close retail outlets in order to stop its retail divisions from cannibalising and overlapping in key districts.
Irish business news sources have reported that Irish betting operators’ Paddy Power and Boylesports are examining the merged businesses’ retail inventory in order to expand UK services and market presence.
In November 2014, John Boyle founder of Boylesports stated that stated that his company needed to expand its operations and presence in the UK betting market, as it had reached peak expansion within Ireland were its 198 retail betting outlets. The Ladbrokes and Coral merger may well offer Boylesports that opportunity.
Paddy Power currently operates 321 shops in the UK at the end of last year, could see any disposals as an opportunity to expand. The Irish operators UK retail division posted an operating profit of €21 million for its 2014 performance up 50% on 2013.