The Sunday Times has reported that Betfred is nearing a deal to buy hundreds of betting shops, as the Ladbrokes-Coral merger enters the final stages of its UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) review.
As part of its merger completion, Ladbrokes-Coral has been forced to sell a significant number of betting shops in order to secure UK competition approval and close its £2.3 billion merger (first announced – June 2015).
In May the UK markets authority had ordered Ladbrokes and Coral governances to begin to sell off a number of its retail assets as its review had identified +600 areas across the UK where the merger could harm competition.
Manchester-based Betfred, Britain’s fourth largest highstreet bookmaker with a retail portfolio of 1400 shops, is reported to be willing to buy between 300-400 of Ladbrokes-Coral’s inventory.
The Sunday Times reports that led by Founder Fred Done, Betfred’s retail bid had edged out Irish competitor BoyleSports, whose founder John Boyle had viewed the retail sell-off of the Ladbrokes-Coral merger as an easy way of expanding BoyleSports in the highly saturated UK betting market.
The move by Betfred to increase significantly its retail betting portfolio may surprise some industry analysts. Filing its annual return for 2015 this month the bookmaker reported losses of £76 million.
Betfred governance stated that a tough 2015 had seen its operations readjust to new industry taxes with lower revenue margins.