Ladbrokes Coral and GVC are back in "detailed" takeover talks

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Ladbrokes Coral and GVC are back in

It is expected that the proposed offer would include a mix and match facility whereby Ladbrokes Coral shareholders may elect to receive more cash or more shares in GVC, subject to offsetting elections being made by other Ladbrokes Coral investors.

Bookmaker GVC Holdings has offered to buy Ladbrokes Coral for up to 3.9 billion pounds to create a betting giant able to cope with the tougher rules being imposed by the British government.

Shares in the 230-year-old Ladbrokes jumped 26 percent in early trading, while GVC shares rose 6 percent on confirmation of the long-rumoured offer, which is in cash and shares.

The determination of the senior management positions are to be finalised over the coming weeks, but both parties have agreed that GVC's Kenneth Alexander will be the CEO of the enlarged group following completion.

The talks come after two previous attempts at a deal between the pair, but the latest discussions broke down in the summer over price and ahead of the Government's gambling review.

The final price that GVC is prepared to pay for Ladbrokes depends on the outcome of the review of fixed-odds betting terminals (FOTBs), which could lead to the maximum stake being reduced to just two from 100.

The news follows a wave of consolidation in the sector, which is going through a hard shift from high street betting shops to online gambling.

GVC has until 5pm GMT on January 4 to announce a firm intention to make a formal offer for Ladbrokes Coral, although this deadline could be extended upon request.

The companies added that a merger would enhance the enlarged group's position in a number of regulated online gaming markets, including the UK, Italy and Australia, and would boost GVC's current share of revenues from locally regulated and taxed markets to more than 90%.

"The enlarged group would have strong growth prospects with momentum in its online businesses, potential for material synergies including the use of leading proprietary technology, and the opportunity to select the best of both people and operations", the firms said.

GVC has also bulked up with a takeover of bwin.party, owner of sites such as Party Poker.

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