Sunday 11 December 2016

Boylesports prepares €25m bid for Ladbrokes Ireland

Published 21/06/2015 | 02:30

Boylesports sees value in Ladbrokes’ Irish chain
Boylesports sees value in Ladbrokes’ Irish chain

Boylesports will proceed with a €25m-plus takeover bid for Ladbrokes' Irish arm, despite losing a legal challenge seeking sensitive information about the British bookmaker's operations here, a Boylesports spokesman told the Sunday Independent.

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The spokesman said the terms of the bid are confidential, but the Sunday Independent understands that the total investment Boylesports is willing to make is worth substantially more than €25m.

"Obviously, we're disappointed with the court judgment. But we remain committed to making a bid for Ladbrokes and to welcoming the Ladbrokes shops into Ireland's fastest growing and most exciting bookmaking chain," Boylesports founder and chief executive, John Boyle, said.

The UK bookmaker's Irish business entered examinership in April. Chief executive Jim Mullen said the move was designed "to build a sustainable and competitive business based in Ireland, run from Ireland, investing in Ireland and supporting the Irish economy and sporting industry while delivering for shareholders".

Mullen said the Irish business had been held back by "real-estate legacy issues" and that, subject to the examiner's opinion, the restructuring was "likely to lead to redundancies at all levels of the operation".

Boylesports had been seeking a High Court order directing the examiner, Ken Fennell of Deloitte, to release information about individual store turnover, leases, and the number of betting slips issued by each shop.

Boylesports said they needed the information to make an effective bid.

But, on Wednesday, Mr Justice Brian Cregan ruled the examiner was entitled to withhold the information. Fennell had argued the information was commercially sensitive and that its disclosure to a competitor could damage Ladbrokes if Boylesports didn't ultimately make a bid, or if a bid failed.

Last week, Boyle said the company's plans may entail the closure of eight of Ladbrokes' 196 Irish shops, in order to address competition concerns. Ladbrokes is expected to close as many as 60 shops if it retains control of the business.

Boylesports has 208 shops in Ireland. If it succeeds in taking over Ladbrokes and closes eight shops, the combined entity would have almost 400 shops. That's approximately 40pc of the market, based on figures released by the Irish Bookmakers Association, which said there were 952 shops in Ireland in January.

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