By Jonathan Davies

Betting firms Ladbrokes and Gala Coral have confirmed plans to merge in a deal that will value the combined business at £2.3 billion.

The new company will have nearly 4,000 stores, making it the biggest bookmaker in the UK.

Ladbrokes chief executive, Jim Mullen, who will become boss of the new company, said it will be called Ladbrokes Coral.

Ladbrokes and Coral announced they were in talks over a merger last month.

Ladbrokes is set to offer 93 million shares, or 10% of the new company, to investors to fund the merger.

Peter Erskine, chairman of Ladbrokes, said: "Together, we will create a leading betting and gaming business. The transaction will provide an attractive opportunity to generate considerable value for both sets of shareholders, through significant operating synergies and a strong cash flow profile."