GVC Holdings Ups the Ante with Third Play for Ladbrokes Coral  

December 8th, 2017 | by Jason Reynolds
GVC Holdings

GVC CEO Kenneth Alexander is bidding to head up a new betting entity featuring Ladbrokes Coral. (Image: hgunified.com)

GVC Holdings has signaled its intention to takeover Ladbrokes Coral in a deal that could be worth as much as £3.9 billion/$5.2 billion.

Announced on December 7, the statement regarding a possible acquisition was published by GVC and could result in another major merger in the British iGaming space.

At this stage, GVC hasn’t made an official offer, but a bid is likely to be tabled before a January 4, 2018, deadline.

GVC Continues to Apply Pressure

Since taking control of bwin.party back in September 2015, GVC has been one of the most active operators in Europe. On top of securing one of the leading online poker brands for $1.4 billion, the company has offloaded its Turkish asset, Headlong, and made two previous moves to acquire Ladbrokes Coral.

The latest bid is expected to be around $400 million more than GVC offered back in August 2017. At that stage, concerns over the company’s presence in unregulated markets, coupled with the UK government’s review of live betting terminals, caused talks to breakdown.

Now, however, the sale of Headlong has reduced GVC’s presence in unregulated regions, and both boards are willing to take a gamble on the outcome of the UK’s regulatory review.

“The Boards believe that a transaction has the potential to create material shareholder value and that there is a compelling strategic rationale for the possible offer,” read a statement from GVC’s November 7 press release.

Possible Poker Improvements at Ladbrokes Coral

As well as directly benefitting consumers in the UK, the new entity, which would be lead by current GVC CEO Kenneth Alexander, would focus on expanding its presence across internationally regulated markets.

“Any transaction would also enhance the enlarged group’s position in a number of the world’s largest regulated online gaming markets, including the UK, Italy and Australia, and would significantly increase GVC’s current share of revenues from locally regulated/taxed markets to more than 90 per cent,” the statement continued.

For poker players, any deal could signal a new era at Ladbrokes Coral. Despite offering poker provisions, the two sites have never been among the top platforms in the industry. In contrast, partypoker has long been recognized as one of the community’s leading brands.

Since GVC took control of bwin.party, it’s ushered in a number of changes that have helped raise its profile. The appointment of John Duthie has bolstered partypoker’s tournament division and the new Millions series is attracting strong numbers live and online.

While any deal between GVC and Ladbrokes Coral would need to mature before any dramatic changes were made with regards to poker, the possibilities are there. Moreover, if the two parties can agree terms, GVC Ladbrokes Coral would become one of the largest online betting operators in the world. 



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