Gala Bingo has agreed terms that will see the company sell off 130 bingo clubs across the UK. The deal, which values the chain at £241million, will help pave the way for Gala Coral’s proposed merger with bookmaker Ladbrokes.
Caledonia to take over Gala bingo halls
British company Caledonia Investments plc will take over the Gala sites, paying £97million in cash plus a further £500,000 that will be covered by management. The deal is subject to a debt facility being put in place and is conditional on approval from the Gambling Commission, which could take up to two months. Under the contract, Caledonia will take over running of Gala’s 130 retail bingo clubs while Gala Coral will retain the galabingo.com and galacasino.com websites. It’s anticipated that the land-based bingo clubs will continue to trade under the Gala brand name as a result of a licence agreement entered into by the two companies. There will also be a Collaboration Agreement in place to ensure both businesses take full advantage of multi-channel opportunities. Gala is the UK’s biggest high street bingo chain claiming 38% of the retail bingo market. According to Caledonia Investments, Gala has 1.1million active members. Speaking of the acquisition, Gala Coral chief executive Carl Leaver said: “We are very pleased to have agreed the sale of Gala Retail, following a competitive process. The sale is another transformative step for Gala Coral Group, following the turnaround of the business over the past few years. “We wish the Gala Retail team all the very best for the future and believe the business will continue to thrive under its new owners. Gala Coral Group remains focused on growing and developing our retail bookmaking and online businesses, and concluding the proposed merger with Ladbrokes.” Duncan Johnson, Caledonia’s Head of Unquoted Investments, added: “[Gala’s] defensive, enduring business model, which delivers strong cash generation and dividend yield, fit ideally with the investment criteria sought by Caledonia for its unquoted portfolio and complements our other assets in the unquoted pool. As with our other unquoted investments, Gala Bingo will pay an attractive yield from inception.”