GVC’s proposed Ladbrokes Coral acquisition cleared by CMA

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has announced that it has cleared the proposed GVC takeover of Ladbrokes Coral, following a merger investigation.

Revealing the case is not to be referred for a more in-depth investigation, the CMA found that “the merger does not give rise to competition concerns.”

Addressing arguments that the merge could create a “a substantial lessening of competition,” it was stated: “GVC has a small presence in the UK and only offers services online. The CMA has found that GVC and Ladbrokes are not close rivals and there are many other providers of betting and gaming services online.

“The CMA looked closely at betting services for individual sports and individual games but found that, in all cases, there will be enough rivals to the merged entity to prevent price increases or a reduced quality of service as a result of the merger.”

After failing with an initial £2.7bn bid, an agreement was reached between the two firms shortly before Christmas last year, with the deal containing  a contingency entitlement based on the results of a government review into the maximum stakes of Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs).

The initial bid of £3.2bn represents a maximum FOBT stake ruling of £2, with the overall price rising in increments towards £4bn, which would represent a £50 maximum stake judgement.

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