GVC positions itself as consolidator with disposal of Turkey business

Alys Key
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GVC is a FTSE 250 online gambling firm (Source: Getty)

Shares in London-listed gambling firm GVC slipped today after the company confirmed the disposal of its Turkish businesses.

The sale could make it easier for GVC to act as a consolidator in the gambling industry, having previously attempted to buy out Ladbrokes Coral.

Headlong Limited and other associated businesses based in Turkey were sold to Ropso Malta Limited, the company which had been providing IT services to the subsidiary.

The deal is worth up to €150m (£134m). Pending regulatory and lender approval, the sale is set to be completed in December this year.

Shares in GVC closed down over one per cent at 932p.

The decision to exit Turkey came as the company reaffirmed a commitment to regulated markets “in an increasingly maturing and regulating online gaming world”.

Turkey’s approach to gambling makes it a so-called “grey market”, where many forms of gambling including online are banned.

The board said that the disposal meant 75 per cent of its net gaming revenue (NGR) now comes from regulated markets or those in the process of regulating.

The board said that it believes this will “increase the attractiveness of the Group to investors and potential consolidation partners”.

The FTSE 250 company has previously made overtures towards Ladbrokes Coral, but was unable to reach an agreement.

Read more: Ladbrokes Coral and GVC call off takeover talks again

Chief executive Kenneth Alexander said yesterday that the group aimed to be a market-leader and that the disposal “enhances GVC’s position as a leading operator in a rapidly developing industry.”

Ladbrokes shares rose five per cent yesterday as the prospect that it could be taken over by GVC was greeted by investors as good news in a troubling week.

Ladbrokes and its peers with high street stores are in line to take a hit as the government conducts a review into the gambling industry.

Following the launch of a consultation on proposed measures this week, it looks likely that the maximum stake on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) will be reduced, potentially losing bookies millions in revenue.

Read more: Foxy Bingo owner goes on the hunt for more takeover targets

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