The widely-anticipated review of Ladbrokes’ business, in which chief executive Jim Mullen will set out his plan to revitalise the operator, has been delayed indefinitely as talks with Gala Coral Group over a possible merger progress.

Last week’s announcement that the companies were in discussions over a possible merger has prompted Ladbrokes to defer the business review presentation, scheduled for tomorrow (Tuesday 30th), until further notice.

“Shareholders are advised that there can be no certainty that the discussions between Ladbrokes and Gala Coral will lead to any agreement concerning the possible merger or as to the timing or terms of any such agreement and there can be no assurance that, even if reached, any such agreement would be completed,” Ladbrokes noted.

UK newspaper The Sunday Times yesterday reported that it believes the merger agreement will be sealed this week, although analysts have warned that the deal could yet be shuttered by the UK's Competition Commission.

Both operators have said that a merged entity would have significant scale and potential to generate substantial cost synergies, potentially resolving Ladbrokes’ struggles with its online business.

Ladbrokes has around 2,256 shops across the UK, and 1,828 outlets in Europe, while Coral operates more than 1,800 betting shops in the UK, and a further 870 Eurobet-branded venues in the Italian market, meaning the merged business would have a major retail presence in the UK and abroad.

"If Ladbrokes and Gala Coral announce an agreement they will identify valuation and competition parameters. It will then become apparent whether someone else wants to cut in," said Numis Securities' Ivor Jones last week, adding that he believes William Hill and Paddy Power are also potential bidders.

Shares in Ladbrokes plc (Co.Data) (LSE:LAD) are currently trading down 0.68 per cent at 131.80 pence per share in London this morning, having hit a 52-week high of 147.00 pence last Tuesday.

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