William Hill files submission against Ladbrokes-Coral merger

The merger is currently undergoing a ‘fast track’ investigation at the CMA.
The merger is currently undergoing a ‘fast track’ investigation at the CMA.

In the document, William Hill asks the UK Competition and Markets Authority to reject the proposed merger.

UK.- William Hill stated the merger would lead to a “substantial lessening of competition” in the UK gambling market and filed a submission with the British Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to prevent the deal to consolidate.

Ladbrokes and Gala Coral minimised the impact the merger may have on its competitors saying the UK market was transformed in recent years by the growth of iGaming usage. In the document submitted to the CMA, William Hill addresses this argument and outlines that igaming services “would not form a sufficiently strong constraint” on the new group to “eliminate or even significantly mitigate the loss of competition resulting from the merger.”

If this agreement goes ahead, Ladbrokes and Gala Coral unified worth would amount approximately £2.3 billion (US$3.3 billion) and they will have a network of 4,000 retail points across the UK. William Hill believes this will result in an uncompetitive concentration of punters in the UK market.

Andrea Coscelli, executive director of markets and mergers at the CMA, admitted there is concern regarding the negative effect the merger may have on competition and this issue will be taken into account. “As the second and third largest bookmakers in the country in terms of betting shops, the merger could affect competition in the very large number of areas where their shops overlap,” Coscelli said. “As such it warrants an in-depth investigation so we can look in detail at these and other potential competition concerns.”