Caledonia Investments acquires Gala Bingo retail division for £241 million

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Gala Coral has this morning announced the sale of its Gala Bingo retail division to private trust Caledonia Investments for a total consideration of £241 million.

The sale of the division is expected to be completed within two months, upon approval from the UK Gambling Commission. Under its new ownership Gala Bingo Retail will retain Simon Wykes as its CEO.

Gala Coral governance confirmed that the operator would retain the ‘Gala’ brand for its online bingo and casino assets. Its digital gaming division would still keep a strategic connection with Gala Bingo retail, which will be managed under a ‘Collaboration Agreement’.

In September 2014, Gala Coral announced that it had hired Lazard Investment Banking as its strategic advisor for the sale of the division.  In December 2014 the operator announced the sale of 47 bingo halls to private equity firm M&G Investments.

Carl Leaver, Chief Executive of Gala Coral commented:

“We are very pleased to have agreed the sale of Gala Retail, following a competitive process. The sale is another transformative step for Gala Coral Group, following the turnaround of the business over the past few years. We wish the Gala Retail team all the very best for the future and believe the business will continue to thrive under its new owners.  Gala Coral Group remains focussed on growing and developing our retail bookmaking and online businesses, and concluding the proposed merger with Ladbrokes.”

Commenting on the acquisition, Duncan Johnson, Caledonia’s Head of Unquoted Investments, said:

“Gala Bingo is well known to Caledonia’s Unquoted Investments team and we are delighted to be backing Simon Wykes and his team in the next chapter of its history. Its defensive, enduring business model, which delivers strong cash generation and dividend yield, fit ideally with the investment criteria sought by Caledonia for its unquoted portfolio and complements our other assets in the unquoted pool.  As with our other unquoted investments, Gala Bingo will pay an attractive yield from inception”

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