The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has delayed the publishing of its provisional findings on the proposed Ladbrokes Coral merger until mid-May.
Mid-April was the initial time the operators expected the provisional findings to be published, while the final report is expected to be published in late June, with the statutory deadline being 24 June.
City AM reported that the delay is possibly down to branch disposals, with both being instructed to dispose of between 300 and 500 shops and that the CMA had previously been working towards a deadline of 18 April, but a spokesperson for the CMA told Gambling Insider that there was no official date in place.
The merger, which was announced as agreed in July, was fast-tracked to a phase 2 investigation in January at the request of both Ladbrokes and Coral.
The CMA said following the conduction of its phase 1 investigation, which occurred in December, 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”.
This would indicate that the position of power that would be held by Ladbrokes and Coral in the UK land-based market is a stumbling block for the merger to complete.
All parties have a deadline of early June to give their responses/submissions.