Belfast Telegraph

Bookmaker in complaint over shops bid failure

By Staff Reporter

Co Armagh bookmaker John Boyle is to complain to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) over the failure of his bid to buy Ladbrokes and Gala Coral shops in Great Britain.

His company BoyleSports, which has 200 stores in the Republic, made a bid for the 359 bookies' shops being disposed of as Ladbrokes and Gala Coral join forces in a £2bn merger.

But it's emerged that the stores in Great Britain are instead being sold to Betfred and Stan James - despite a bigger offer from the Irish company.

BoyleSports has said its bid was higher than the £5.5m achieved in the sale of 322 retail outlets to Betfred and 37 stores to Stan James.

The merger between Ladbrokes and Gala Coral is to be confirmed this week.

With its last bid thwarted, BoyleSports is expected to look for alternative prospects in Great Britain.

Mr Boyle opened his first BoyleSports in Markethill in 1982, with a £6,000 loan from his father and £10,000 from the bank.

A second branch followed in Drogheda, and the chain's expansion around the Republic continued.

But more complex laws in the UK have meant its expansion in Northern Ireland has been limited to just four shops.

Last year, John Boyle told the Belfast Telegraph about his ambitions to open in Great Britain.

Mr Boyle said: "We have considerable experience competing against the British operators in Ireland and we are extremely confident we can compete against them in the UK."

Belfast Telegraph