Irish bookmaker Boylesports has confirmed it will look at buying up to 400 UK betting shops that must be sold by the combined Ladbrokes and Gala Coral group to meet merger rules.
The Competition and Markets Authority announced in July that 350-400 Ladbrokes Coral shops will have to be sold after identifying 642 local areas where competition could be substantially lessened as a result of the merger.
While Betfred has also been rumoured as a potential suitor for the shops, BoyleSports is not hiding its interest, though it was unclear as to whether a bid has been made or is set to be made.
Jenna Boyle, BoyleSports Retail Director, told The Sunday Business Post: “In phase one, there are in the order of 360 shops that are being looked at.
“By Friday of this week, that’s our deadline for submitting our bid. We’re in the process of reviewing our bid with a view to making that.”
Assuming the interview was conducted before last Friday, then a bid has already been made.
Boyle said: “The plan is to expand our regional presence in Britain. What we would like to happen, would be an acquisition of the larger scale. The Ladbrokes Coral merger presented an opportunity for us which we definitely need to look at, so we’re driving that process.”
If it were successful in its attempts to purchase the shops, this would mark Boylesports’ first expansion outside of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, where it operates over 200 shops.
“It would establish us in the UK,” Boyle said. “It’s fairly early doors – we’re at the starting line with it. The next thing is getting past phase one – we’ll know much more at that stage.”
It is not yet clear as to which number of the shops would be sold individually by Ladbrokes and Coral.