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Bookies Ladbrokes and Coral agree £2.3bn merger

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Betting firms Ladbrokes and Gala Coral have agreed a merger to create a £2.3bn gambling giant.

It is expected to overtake William Hill as the biggest bookmaker in the UK, although it is expected to have to dispose of some stores to satisfy any concerns about the deal from competition regulators.

The move brings together 2,100 shops from Ladbrokes and 1,845 from Coral in the UK. Talks about the merger were first made public last month.

Ladbrokes Coral will have net revenue of £2.1 billion and underlying earnings of £392 million, while the deal is expected to bring savings of £65 million a year.

The firms said it would be the largest licensed betting office in the UK, which would be “more efficient and sustainable in the long term”.

Ladbrokes chairman Peter Erskine said: “This is a major strategic step for Ladbrokes which firmly accelerates our strategy to improve the customers’ experience and build recreational scale.

“Ladbrokes and Coral are two highly complementary businesses, with rich heritage and brand presence across the UK and internationally.

“Together, we will create a leading betting and gaming business combining strong brands with an attractive multi-channel offering and an extensive national and international coverage.

Jim Mullen, chief executive of Ladbrokes, will retain the position at the new business while Gala Coral boss Carl Leaver will be executive deputy chairman for 12 months after completion of the deal.

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