Ladbrokes is City’s favourite after it pitches for CoralComments Off on Ladbrokes is City’s favourite after it pitches for Coral
Chief executive Jim Mullen’s first big move since taking the reins in April would create a group which owned more than 4000 of the UK’s 9000 betting shops — easily the biggest — as well as the third-largest online business.
The tie-up was rejected by then trade secretary Peter Mandelson back in 1998 but Mullen told the Standard today: “That was back then. The dynamic is quite a different one from where it was. You’ve got a whole online market which wasn’t there for a start, so that has a major influence. But to be clear, there is a competition process to continue and we will liaise with authorities as appropriate.”
However, Shore Capital’s Greg Johnson warned: “We see significant potential hurdles to the deal.”
The bid adds to the frenzy of takeover activity in the sector as firms respond to tax hikes and regulation. Mullen added that the main point was “scale”, with savings from the combination likely to be ploughed into boosting its online offering.