Paddy Power’s merger with Betfair is set to be finalised in the first quarter of next year after the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) approved the deal Thursday.

The merger was cleared to go ahead by the CMA at phase one of its investigation, launched under the provisions of the 2002 Enterprise Act.

The CMA launched its investigation in November this year, aiming to ascertain whether the merger could reduce competition in the UK gambling market, with interested parties invited to make submissions by November 20th.

Phase one of such an investigation lasts around 40 working days, and was due to be completed by January 7th next year, but has been finalised ahead of schedule, allowing the deal to be completed.

The £5bn mega-merger was first agreed in August this year, before the companies finalised terms on the deal in September. The new business will operate a dual brand strategy, listed on the Dublin and London Stock Exchanges, with current Betfair chief executive Breon Corcoran serving as its CEO.

The boards of each company believes the new entity will be able to achieve recurring annual pre-tax synergies of around £50m, with the full level of identified synergies expected to be achieved in the third full year after the deal’s completion.

The deal has been finalised just as the CMA begins an investigation into another gaming mega-merger, Ladbrokes’ £2.3bn pair-up with Coral. The operators have asked the authority to fast-track its investigation into the deal, which could see it secure approval within 15 working days.

Shares in Betfair plc (Co.Data) (LSE:BET) have climbed 0.53 per cent to 3,789.00 pence per share in London following the news, while Paddy Power plc (Co.Data) (LSE:PAP) has seen its share price rise 1.71 per cent to 122.19 pence per share.

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