GVC Holdings said that it is "detailed discussions" to acquire a majority stake in rival British bookmaker Ladbrokes Coral Group, in a deal that could value Ladbrokes at upwards of $5.2 billion.
Why it's a big deal: The result would be a gambling company in the FTSE 100, and comes amid a secular shift from physical betting parlors to digital, broader sector consolidation and a UK regulatory review that could cap the amount people are allowed to wager at fixed-odds gaming terminals (e.g., slot machines).
This is the third time these two companies have held merger talks, but this one by far seems the furthest along.
Bottom line: "Ladbrokes Coral, whose traditional betting shops in the U.K.'s town centers are fading, would get more exposure to the expanding digital gaming business, while GVC could reach more potential customers for its online platforms." — Eric Pfanner, Bloomberg