Ladbrokes In Merger Discussions With Gala Coral

Gambling group issues statement confirming negotiations in progress

Amid wide media speculation that it is looking at merger opportunities, the UK online and land gambling group Ladbrokes plc issued a statement late Monday confirming that it is in discussions with the board of Gala Coral Group Limited.
The statement clarifies that the discussions are regarding a possible merger of Ladbrokes and Coral Retail, Eurobet Retail and Gala Coral's Online businesses to create an enlarged business which would be listed on the official list of the UK Listing Authority and traded on the main market of the London Stock Exchange.
The usual caveats advising shareholders that there can be no certainty that the discussions between Ladbrokes and Gala Coral will lead to any agreement or outcome are included in the statement.
Ladbrokes also notes that, in the event that such a transaction proceeds, it may undertake a non-pre-emptive equity placing to strengthen the balance sheet of the merged companies.
"In light of this development, the Business Review presentation scheduled for 30 June may be re-scheduled depending on how discussions progress," the statement advises.
Jim Mullen, CEO Ladbrokes plc, said:
"Since becoming CEO my focus has been on a more aggressive plan to build digital scale and grow our recreational customer base across all channels, which is key to creating a more sustainable and growing Ladbrokes. My plans are well advanced and I look forward to presenting them to shareholders.
"A merger with Gala Coral could create a combined business with significant scale and has the potential to generate substantial cost synergies, creating value for both companies' shareholders.
"The Board has not yet concluded whether a transaction is strategically attractive and can be delivered to shareholders on appropriate terms."

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