It’s a deal that’s been well over a year in the making, but the merger between UK gambling giants Ladbrokes and Coral is finally complete. The merger is estimated to be worth £2.3 billion and the new company instantly began trading under their new name, Ladbrokes Coral Group Plc.They will now overtake William Hill as the UK’s biggest gambling retailer with 3,500 shops, (WH have 2,400 in comparison) although they will continue to operate publicly as two separate brands.
Ladbrokes and Coral were legally required to sell off 359 of their combined shops in order to ensure the UK’s gambling market wasn’t completely dominated. Betfred and Stan James bought the shops, which was the final hurdle before the merger could be finalised.
Through the merger, it is believed that Ladbrokes Coral will concentrate their attention on digital pursuits, especially online casino games and sports betting. Ladbrokes have been focusing heavily on their digital and online efforts ever since disappointing revenue figures were announced in 2014. This Coral merger could be exactly what both companies need.
current Ladbrokes CEO, Jim Mullen will continue the role, but now in charge of both brands, while Coral’s Chief Operating Officer, Andy Hornby, will continue his role across the merged company.
The biggest question now is what the future holds for William Hill? It’s just a matter of time before Ladbrokes Coral overtake them as market leaders. William Hill have already turned down two potential mergers this year, that would have seen them retain their current top spot. First they snubbed an approach from 888 and Rank as they felt the initial offer was ‘disrespectful’. The second opportunity, a potential merger with Amaya, was halted after it was heavily opposed by a key William Hill investor. Amaya are big players in the world of online poker and would have helped William Hill expand into that industry.