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Ladbrokes set to make a bid for Australian betting giant Tabcorp

Tue, Nov 29, 9:44am by Staff Writer

The biggest bookmaker in Britain, Ladbrokes Coral is reportedly planning a to make a bid for Australia’s largest bookie in a deal that would cost the betting giant more than £2bn (AUD$3.3bn).

English newspaper, the Mail on Sunday reported that having completed its £2.4bn (AUD$4bn) merger only a few weeks ago, the betting giant has appointed advisers to assess a bid for Tabcorp.

Should the deal come to fruition, it will create one of the world’s biggest gambling groups – worth close to £5bn (AUD $8.3 bn).

The Aussie company is believed to have been in Ladbrokes sites for many years and reportedly even turned down a bid in 2013. Tabcorp CEO David Attenborough started his life in the industry at Ladbrokes which may yet turn out to be a handy connection.

Interestingly, Ladbrokes is reportedly only interested in Tabcorp which means that the Australian bookies proposed AUD $6.4bn (£3.8bn) acquisition of fellow bookie Tatts may be on shaky ground.

The aforementioned merger between the two Australian companies was meant to ward off growing UK competition in the market but may yet face scrutiny from competition regulators, who blocked such a deal 10 years ago.

As regulation and tax measures squeeze their bottom line, Gaming companies have been forced to consolidate in recent years. Ladbrokes and Gala Coral completed their merger at the start of this month, and Paddy Power and Betfair also merged at the start of this year.

The new laws have also led to British groups looking to Australia for growth since the deregulation of gambling licences in 2012. Ladbrokes itself has already bought Australian bookmakers Betstar and, although a deal for Tabcorp would eclipse both.

Tabcorp had revenue of AUD $2.2bn last year and pre-tax profits of AUD $301m, they offer sports betting as well as Keno, and they own Australian Sky Racing channels.

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