Talks have broken down once again between GVC and Ladbrokes Coral, as the gambling groups missed a second chance at consolidation.
In recent weeks GVC, which owns Bwin and Sportingbet among other brands, had swooped in with a takeover offer understood to be as much as £3.6bn according to the Financial Times.
But discussions have now ended, due to disputes over the value of Ladbrokes Coral and wariness in the face of the government's imminent gambling sector review.
The two companies had previously entered talks at the end of last year as Ladbrokes was completing its merger with Coral.
Sources told the FT that the £3.6bn figure floated in the newest set of talks was understood to be dependent on a favourable outcome from the government's gambling review, which is expected to be released in the Autumn.
The industry has been on edge in the face of tightened regulation, especially high street bookies such as Ladbrokes. After a panel of MPs criticised fixed odds betting terminals last year, the industry has braced itself for a clampdown.
But rumours that the chancellor could block such an intervention have given bookies a moment of relief in the past few weeks.
Discussions between Ladbrokes Coral and GVC follow a wider trend of consolidation in the industry. GVC celebrated the integration of Bwin earlier this year, telling City A.M. the process "couldn't have gone better".