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Ladbrokes and Coral in shock talks over merger
BY BILL BARBER 8:40PM 22 JUN 2015
LADBROKES are understood to be in merger talks with fellow high street bookmaking giant Coral, the Racing Post can reveal.
The news will rock the betting industry and bring back memories of Ladbrokes' attempt to take over Coral for £363 million in 1998, a move blocked by the then secretary of state for trade and industry Peter Mandelson, who said the purchase "would damage competition and disadvantage punters".
However, that was before the boom in online betting changed the market, and a deal between the two companies might not meet the same obstacles. With talks having gone so far it is possible they have already sounded out the competition authorities.
While Ladbrokes and Coral are the second and third biggest betting office operators behind William Hill with 2,194 and 1,845 offices respectively between them, their online presence is behind the likes of Hills, Paddy Power and bet365.
It is believed the due diligence process is ongoing, but both companies declined to comment when contacted by the Racing Post on Monday night.
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