Wednesday 21 February 2018

Paddy Power and Betfair shareholders approve €8bn deal

Andy McCue said full integration planning has not started yet
Andy McCue said full integration planning has not started yet
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

The €8bn merger between Paddy Power and UK firm Betfair is closer to being sealed after shareholders in both companies yesterday overwhelmingly approved the deal at meetings in Dublin and London.

The merger continues to be on track to be cemented in the first quarter of 2016.

The UK's Competition and Markets Authority has already approved the deal, while Ireland's Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) is expected to deliver its verdict on the transaction soon.

Paddy Power chief executive Andy McCue told shareholders yesterday that the combined group will be the biggest online business of any sector in Europe. It will have annual revenues of around €1.5bn.

He said talks with the CCPC are continuing.

"We're hopeful of getting a positive outcome. Our expectation is that the deal will close in the first quarter of next year. We have good on-going dialogue with the CCPC, but obviously they have to complete their own investigation," he said after the extraordinary general meeting.

Paddy Power shareholders approved all resolutions, including the planned name change of the company.

The new group will be known as Paddy Power Betfair, although the brands will continue to be used on a standalone basis.

The group, which will be headquartered in Dublin, is set to become a constituent of the FTSE-100.

Paddy Power shareholders will own 52pc of the merged group, with Betfair investors holding the remainder. Paddy Power shareholders will also split a special €80m dividend before the merger completes.

Mr McCue will be chief operating officer of the group, while Betfair boss Breon Corcoran - previously the chief operating officer at Paddy Power - will be chief executive.

Former Smurfit Kappa boss Gary McGann will be chairman. He's currently chairman of Paddy Power.

Paddy Power has previously indicated there will be a number of redundancies after the merger. The combined entity will spend close to €90m to achieve annual cost savings of about €70m.

Mr McCue said that full integration planning hasn't yet started, no there's no clarity about where jobs might be lost.

"Our focus at the moment is on running the businesses as hard as we can versus the competition and we'll continue to do that right up to the date of completion," he said.

Irish Independent

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