By Daniel Hunter

Ladbrokes has said it is in talks with Gala Coral Group over a potential merger.

The betting firm, which has said it will close 60 UK branches after a fall in pre-tax profits in 2014, said there was no certainty that a deal would be agreed.

But any deal would likely see Ladbrokes merged with Coral Retail, Eurobet Retail and Gala Coral's online companies.

Ladbrokes chief executive Jim Mullen said: "A merger with Gala Coral could create a combined business with significant scale and has the potential to generate substantial cost synergies, creating value for both companies' shareholders."