Paddy Power-Betfair merger may be delayed by State’s competition watchdog

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission has yet to begin investigating the €8 billion deal

Paddy Power and  Betfair  plan to merge to create one of the world’s biggest gambling groups.

Paddy Power and Betfair plan to merge to create one of the world’s biggest gambling groups.

 

Paddy Power’s €8 billion merger with Betfair faces a possible setback as the State’s competition watchdog could delay a decision on the deal until well into next year.

The pair plan to merge to create one of the world’s biggest gambling groups, with revenues of between €1.5 billion and €2 billion a year and a stock market value of about €8 billion.

It emerged yesterday that the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC), which must approve the deal before it can go ahead, only sought the information that it needs from the companies this week.

This means that it has yet to begin investigating the deal, which could take up to 120 working days, possibly delaying a final decision on the merger until close to June, long after March 31st, the date by which the two companies hope to complete the transaction.

The commission confirmed that while the companies notified it of their deal on October 20th, it only requested the data from them last Monday.

Once it receives the information, it will begin a phase one investigation, which will take it 30 working days. It will then decide on whether to clear the merger or move to a phase two investigation, which could take up to another 90 working days to complete. On this basis, it could take the commission just under six months to complete the two investigations and decide on whether or not to approve the merger.

British counterpart

The CCPC did not say why it took six weeks from the date of notification to seek the information that it needed.

Both companies’ shareholders will vote on the merger at extraordinary general meetings in Dublin and London on December 21st.

Paddy Power did not comment yesterday but it is understood to be complying with the commission’s request for information.