UK online gaming group eyes takeover of gambling chain

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GVC, owner of Foxy Bingo and Sportingbet websites, is in talks to buy British betting chain Ladbrokes Coral for up to £3.9 billion ($5.2 billion, 4.4 billion euros), the pair announced Thursday.

The cash-and-stock bid, pitched at up to 203.70 pence per Ladbrokes share, would create an online-led gambling titan but faces hurdles amid a UK government crackdown on certain types of betting.

The deal, the latest attempt at consolidation in the sector, would see Ladbrokes investors own 46.5 percent with GVC holding a majority of 53.5 percent.

"The enlarged group would be an online-led globally positioned betting and gaming business," a statement said.

"The enlarged group would be geographically diversified with a large portfolio of businesses... with the scale and resources to address the dynamics of a rapidly changing global industry."

GVC said an eventual price depended on the outcome of the British government's regulatory review of fixed-odds betting terminals.

The controversial electronic terminals currently allow Britons to stake as much as £100 per spin in betting shops, sparking outcry from gambling addiction charities.

The government had stated in October that the maximum stake will be slashed to between £50 and £2.

Meanwhile, Thursday's announcement follows an aborted merger attempt by Ladbrokes Coral's main rival William Hill late last year.

In October 2016, betting chain William Hill and Canada's Amaya, the world's largest online gaming company, ended talks over a possible tie-up.


© 2017 AFP

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