Headlong Sale Moves GVC Holdings Closer to Ladbrokes Coral Deal

December 22nd, 2017 | by Jason Reynolds

GVC Holdings has moved a step closer to completing its £3.9billion/$5.2 billion takeover of Ladbrokes Coral by officially disposing of its Turkish gaming asset, Headlong Limited.

GVC Kenneth Alexander

GVC Chief Executive Kenneth Alexander officially signs off on the sale of Headlong Limited to Ropso Malta Limited. (Image: GVC/PA)

The sale of Headlong was made public on November 2 and executives at GVC and the buyer, Ropso Malta Limited, agreed to expedite the process.

With a deadline set for the end of December, the two parties have completed the paperwork almost two weeks ahead of schedule.

Deal Done According to Alexander

In a business note published on December 20, GVC Chief Executive Kenneth Alexander signed off on the transaction and added another $179 million to the company’s takeover budget. Under the terms of deal, Ropso will make payments on a monthly cash receivable basis over the next five years.

As that money is being dripped into GVC’s coffers, the gaming company will be pushing to complete its long-awaited deal with Ladbrokes Coral. Up to this point, GVC has made two previous attempts to purchase one of the largest operators in the UK.

Previous talks have fallen by the wayside after issues regarding GVC’s presence in grey markets raised concerns. The sale of Headlong has been designed to quell these concerns and reduce GVC’s interests in unregulated markets to less than 25 percent of its annual revenue.

GVC Takeover Could Benefit Ladbrokes Coral Poker Players

If GVC and Ladbrokes Coral can agree terms in 2018, it would be the former’s second major takeover in a three-year period. A $1.4 billion deal with bwin.party in 2015 signaled GVC’s first real venture into the online poker sector.

Although the company also has interests in other areas, bwin.party’s most recognizable asset is partypoker. Since the deal, the poker operator has become one of the leading brands in the live tournament arena.

Under the guidance of John Duthie, partypoker LIVE has filled the void left by PokerStars’ dissolution of the European Poker Tour (EPT). In fact, such has been the success of partypoker LIVE that PokerStars recently announced the return of the EPT in 2018.

Until a deal has been agreed, Ladbrokes Coral and its poker assets are unlikely to change. However, with proven success at partypoker, there’s no reason players won’t see more poker provisions brought to Ladbrokes Coral if GVC gets its wish.

At this stage, GVC is going through a period of governance before things proceed early in the new year.

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