Irish competition watchdog to assess Ladbrokes-Coral merger

Ireland’s Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) is to assess the proposed merger between leading operators Ladbrokes and Gala Coral.

First announced last summer, the agreement, if approved, would lead to the creation of a business worth approximately £2.3 billion (€3 billion/$3.3 billion).

The Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA), the CCPC’s counterpart in the UK market, has already announced that it will undertake an investigation of the proposed deal, with a decision due before June 24 this year.

The CCPC has now announced it will also assess the merger agreement, having been notified of the proposed deal earlier this week.

Confirmation of the CCPC assessment comes after the UK CMA said it would not investigate the deal further if Playtech, which owns a 10% stake in Ladbrokes, may favour the merged entity at the expense of its rivals.

“Irrespective of whether Playtech may have the ability to completely or partially foreclose other betting and gaming operators, Playtech currently has no incentive to do so and its increased shareholding in Ladbrokes does not appear likely to change its incentives,” the CMA said, according to Ireland’s Independent newspaper.

The CMA will continue to accept submissions until February 18, ahead of the statutory deadline for making a decision on June 24.

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