Gala Buys Coral Eurobet!

Gala said on Friday it was buying Coral Eurobet for 2.18 billion pounds in a deal that would merge Gala's casinos and bingo halls with Coral's betting shops and dog tracks.

The takeover creates a privately-owned company worth more than 4 billion pounds with more than 2.2 million customers visiting 1,450 outlets.Gala Chief Executive Neil Goulden and Chairman John Kelly, will carry on in the same posts in the enlarged company, it said in a statement.

Gala, the U.K.'s biggest operator of bingo halls, is buying Coral as part of Chairman John Kelly's plan to play a leading role in the consolidation of the U.K. gaming industry. The company has to catch competitors including William Hill Plc, which bought Stanley Leisure Plc's betting offices in June to challenge Hilton Group Plc's Ladbrokes for industry leadership.

``Coral Eurobet is a superb fit with Gala,'' Gala Chief Executive Neil Goulden said in the statement. ``There are significant revenue-enhancing synergy opportunities in combining the two companies.''

The sale ends Coral's plans for an initial public offering. In August, Coral appointed Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. to advise on a possible IPO, hoping to profit at a time when the growth of the gambling industry is attracting investors. Online gaming companies PartyGaming Plc and 888 Holdings Plc have sold stock in IPOs in London this year.

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Google News - 2005-10-07 16:37:54




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