(Adds details, analyst comment, share movement)
Oct 18 (Reuters) - British bookmaker Ladbrokes reported a 12.1 percent rise in third-quarter net revenue on Tuesday, helped by a bookmaker-friendly and busy summer of sport.
* The company, which agreed an all-share merger with Gala Coral to create a 2.3 billion pound ($3.4 billion) betting group, said net revenue for UK Retail rose 1.9 percent in the quarter ended Sept. 30, while European Retail net revenue rose 11.3 percent.
* Ladbrokes’ digital business revenue jumped 48.2 percent in the quarter.
* The company said its performance in the quarter was “supportive” of its full-year expectations.
* Ladbrokes and Gala on Monday agreed to sell 359 shops for 55.5 million pounds to rivals, subject to approval from Britain’s competition watchdog, in a deal that will reduce their footprint and pave the way for competition authorities to allow their merger to proceed.
* Ladbrokes said on Tuesday that after getting the Competition and Market Authority’s nod for the sale, it would look for the regulator’s consent to complete the merger, subject to the sale of one remaining shop.
* Ladbrokes also said it expected the British government to begin its triennial review into gaming machines in the near future, adding that it would support the government.
* “Once the merger with Coral completes, we would view the largest retail bookmaker in the UK as very exposed to structural and regulatory challenges,” Liberum said in a note for clients.
* The broker said other regulatory challenges in the short term included Britain’s proposal to extend the horse-racing levy online at a rate of 10 percent.
* The overall impact on the enlarged Ladbrokes-Coral is likely to be in “mid-single digit millions”, Liberum analysts said.
* Liberum has a “sell” rating on the stock.
* Ladbrokes’ shares were up 1.7 percent at 140.2 pence at 0708 GMT on the London Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)