Competition concerns see UK CMA call for ‘Phase 2’ investigation of Novomatic Talarius buyout

QuicksilverThe £116 million acquisition of Talarius arcades by Novomatic Group (Novomatic) faces an ‘in-depth investigation over competition concerns’ by the UK Competition & Markets Authority (CMA).

Publishing an industry update, CMA officials detailed that following Novomatic’s acquisition of Talarius, the company would operate 264 UK adult gaming centres, which may harm sector competition conditions.

Stating its concerns, the authority detailed that Novomatic operator of ‘Admiral’ and ‘Noble’ arcades would likely face no competition from other adult gaming centres, licensed betting offices or bingo halls in certain UK areas.

Last June, Australian gambling operator Tatts Group informed that it had offloaded its UK division of Talarius (operator of Quicksilver arcades) to Novomatic’s UK gambling subsidiary for AUS $210 million.

The CMA has requested for a further ‘Phase 2’ investigation of the acquisition to be conducted by an independent advisory panel

Sheldon Mills, CMA Senior Director of Mergers and decision maker in this case, said:

In most of the local areas where Admiral or Noble and Quiksilver gaming centres compete, we found that there were other competing gaming centres as well as some competition from betting shops and bingo halls with gaming machines which compete with those in a gaming centre. Overall, we found that these combined alternatives would push Novomatic to keep offering a competitive service to its customers.

However, in 5 local areas we considered that there would be a significant loss of competition which could harm the quality of service offered to players. We’ve asked Novomatic to come up with proposals that could keep gaming facilities competitive for customers in those areas and which would avoid the need for a full investigation.

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