Gala Coral checks out of bingo clubs ahead of Ladbrokes merger
Betting firm Gala Coral has completed the sale of 130 bingo clubs for £241million as it prepares for its mega merger with Ladbrokes.
Gala Coral has sold the bingo clubs to buyout firm Caledonia Investments, concluding a deal first announced in October.
The Gala brand and the websites Galabingo.com and Galacasino.com will be retained by Gala Coral, with the clubs continuing to use the Gala brand under a licence agreement.
The bingo clubs generated revenues of about £300m in the 12 months to September.
The move comes as Gala readies itself for its £2.3billion merger with Ladbrokes, proposed in June, which is still subject to approval from the Competition & Markets Authority.
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The planned Ladbrokes Coral merger will create Britain’s biggest bookmaker, overtaking rival William Hill with almost 4,000 betting shops. The sale of some of Coral’s units is seen as an attempt to ease competition regulators’ concerns.
Carl Leaver, chief executive of Gala Coral, said: “The disposal is another transformative step for Gala Coral, following the turnaround of the business over the past few years. Gala Coral remains focused on growing and developing our retail bookmaking and online businesses, and concluding the proposed merger with Ladbrokes.”
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The move comes at a time of consolidation in the industry. In August, Irish betting chain Paddy Power and online rival Betfair agree to merge, creating one of the world’s largest online gambling operations valued at £5bn.
And in September FoxyBingo owner bwin.party spurned online suitor 888 Holdings in favour of a £1.1bn offer from Sportingbet owner GVC after a protracted takeover tussle.