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CMA to take Ladbrokes Coral investigation to the next level

The

Ladbrokes
proposed merger between Ladbrokes and Gala Coral has been fast-tracked for an in-depth phase 2 investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), following a request to do so that was made by the two operators.

The CMA began phase 1 investigations into the merger in December and a case can only be fast-tracked when the CMA has received evidence at an early stage of an investigation that the test for reference to phase 2 is met.

It has been ruled by the CMA following the conduction of its phase 1 investigation that the merger “gives rise to a realistic prospect of a substantial lessening of competition in relation to the supply of fixed odds betting products in LBOs in a large number of local areas where Ladbrokes and Coral overlap”.

It was announced by the CMA in December that Ladbrokes and Coral had made a request for the investigation to advance to phase 2.

A group of independent panel members will oversee the investigation, supported by a case team of CMA staff, and the findings of the investigation must be published by June 24.

CMA executive director of markets and mergers Andrea Coscelli said: “As the second and third largest bookmakers in the country in terms of betting shops, the merger could affect competition in the very large number of areas where their shops overlap. As such it warrants an in-depth investigation so we can look in detail at these and other potential competition concerns. The fast-track request means that the inquiry group can now get started with that investigation.”

Details of the merger were announced in July and was approved by 96% of Ladbrokes shareholder votes in November.

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