Ladbrokes merge with Coral to form giganto-bookies
Ladbrokes have been dragging behind William Hill over the years, especially when it comes to online sports-betting. So, they're hoping that, by tag-teaming with Gala's digital arm, they'll be able to get on board with all that lovely money that can be made from prizing the coins out of people's pockets while they're messing about on the internet.
Gala's bingo business is not part of this deal.
"This is a major strategic step for Ladbrokes which firmly accelerates our strategy to improve the customers' experience and build recreational scale," said Ladbrokes chairman Peter Erskine. "Ladbrokes and Coral are two highly complementary businesses, with rich heritage and brand presence across the UK and internationally."
Are you ready to have your experience improved while someone builds recreational scale around your ears? You were born ready, don't even pretend you weren't.
Of course, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) are going to be paying close attention to this whole thing, meddling at every turn - but that's the price you pay when you leapfrog every one of your competitors like this.
"Both Ladbrokes and Gala Coral are confident that the merger is deliverable and are committed to working closely with the CMA in its review," the companies said. They added that "it is anticipated that the combined entity will need to dispose of retail stores to satisfy potential CMA requirements".
They've got over 4,000 shops to play with, so if your town has a Coral AND a Ladbrokes, expect one of them to vanish soon.