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UK: CMA to rule on Ladbrokes-Coral merger before June 24

 |  January 12, 2016

The UK Competitions and Markets Authority has announced that it will make a decision on the proposed merger of Ladbrokes and Gala Coral by June 24, after opting to proceed with a ‘fast track’ investigation of the agreement.

The CMA last month announced that it could carry out a fast track investigation of the merger in order to speed up its traditional investigation timetable and pass a ruling on the deal faster.

In order for a case to be fast-tracked, the CMA must have evidence at an early stage that the test for reference to phase two of investigation is met.

The CMA said that it had found that the transaction meets the test as it gives rise to a “realistic prospect of a substantial lessening of competition” in relation to the supply of fixed odds betting products in licensed betting offices (LBOs) in many local areas where Ladbrokes and Coral overlap.

The regulator also found that while betting online has grown in recent years, a significant proportion of customers continue to bet only in LBOs. The CMA therefore ruled that the loss of competition between Ladbrokes’ and Coral’s LBOs in local areas where choice will be reduced to only one or two LBOs may lead to a worsening of their offer to customers.

Full content: Out-Law

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