Business World

Saturday 18 August 2018

GVC will stick not twist on UK add-on deals

A customer watches races in a Ladbrokes Coral bookmaker’s
A customer watches races in a Ladbrokes Coral bookmaker’s

Rahul B

Online gambling firm GVC Holdings, which has expanded rapidly through a series of deals, will sit out any further consolidation in the British industry, its head told Reuters.

GVC, which has agreed to take over leading British bookmaker Ladbrokes Coral for up to £4bn (€4.49bn), said net gaming revenue rose 17pc in 2017, helped by gains from the bwin.party businesses it bought three years ago.

Merger activity in the British gambling market has gained pace as companies bulk up in response to higher tax bills and tighter regulations and GVC has been at the forefront.

"I expect there would be some more deals in the next 12 to 18 months in UK," GVC chief executive Kenneth Alexander told Reuters.

"We bought Ladbrokes Coral and we are done for the UK. Ladbrokes is what we wanted, we got them and we are biggest in the UK when the deal closes so we don't need anything more here,."

However GVC, the owner of the Sportingbet and Foxy Bingo brands, would still explore M&A opportunity beyond Britain, Mr Alexander added. He has built GVC through a series of increasingly ambitious deals, including the £1.1bn reverse takeover of bwin.party, growing it into a FTSE 250 business.

For GVC, gains made from bwin.party deal help it post net gaming revenue of €925.6m last year compared with €794.3m in 2016.

It acquired bwin.party for £1.1bn in 2015 after a prolonged bidding with online rival 888 Holdings. Shares were up 3.9pc and among the top gainer on FTSE 250 Index. (Reuters)

Irish Independent

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