Football pools merger cleared

Sportech, the Liverpool-based owner of Littlewoods Pools and Zetters Pools, has been given clearance by the Competition Commission to go ahead with the acquisition to buy Sportech from Ladbrokes.

Sportech began talks with Ladbrokes regarding a sale back in March of this year. However, the Office of Fair Trading stepped in fearing the acquisition would create a monopoly in the pools market and referred the case to the Competition Commission.

The commission concluded in their investigation that the acquisition would not create a "substantial lessening of competition within nay market or markets in the UK for goods or services".

Quite surprising really when it is expected that Sportech will now dominate with a 99% share of the football pools market.

Nonetheless, chief executive of Sportech Ian Penrose said of the investigation: “We are delighted that at the end of this lengthy and detailed process, we have received clearance from the Competition Commission to proceed with the acquisition of Vernons. We will now look to conclude our negotiations with Ladbrokes.”

Meanwhile, Sportech’s former online sportsbook, Bet Direct, which was sold to 32Red in May 2006 for £12.5 million, is expected to make just half of that price as 32Red look to sell the flailing operation. Irish-based bookmaker Boylesports is thought to be in the driving seat. Sportech also own and operate the Littlewoods casino and poker room.

Editor, - 2007-10-11 11:03:12

Online Casino Gambling at