Investment trust to buy Gala Bingo

Tue, 27 Oct 2015 | BUSINESS SALE

Gala Bingo is to be sold to investment trust Caledonia in the latest change within the betting sector this year.

Caledonia has agreed to a sale price of £241 million, which will see it take on Gala's 130 bingo clubs and over a million members.

The chain is the largest UK high street operator and holds 38 per cent of the UK's retail bingo market. The firm's parent company, Gala Coral, will hold onto ownership of the online division, galabingo.com.

Duncan Johnson, head of unquoted investments at Caledonia, said that Gala has a “defensive, enduring business model”, which not only offers strong cash generation, but also a good dividend yield, meaning that it fits “ideally with the investment criteria sought by Caledonia”.

The gambling sector has seen a lot of M&A activity this year, with Gala Coral itself in the process of a buyout by rival firm Ladbrokes. This £2.3 billion merger would create the biggest bookie in the UK but is currently under close scrutiny by the Competition and Markets Authority due to the fact that the combined company may be simply too big.

Meanwhile, online giant Betfair has recently purchased Paddy Power's and other online operators 888 and Bwin are also in the process of a merger.


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