Australia's Tabcorp Tatts Merger On Hold Again

Published Sunday, September 24, 2017 -
Australia's Tabcorp Tatts Merger On Hold Again

The gambling industry in Australia has been going through some serious reconfiguring over that past few years making it difficult for some operators to expand. The $11 billion merger of Australian gambling giants Tabcorp and Tatts is being looked at again by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

The previously approved merger of the two firms is now in jeopardy after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission appeal was upheld by the Federal Court. Two appeals by the ACCC and rival betting operator CrownBet were lodged in July and Tabcorp has repeatedly explained to its shareholders it was "committed to the transaction" and confident the merger will be completed although not before the Melbourne Cup begins.

A spokesperson explained, "Tabcorp will be arguing that the tribunal does have the jurisdiction as the full Federal Court authority says the time limit is satisfied if the original decision was made in that time frame,"

A statement from the company said, "Tabcorp has engaged with the various gambling regulatory authorities over the past 10 months, in order to satisfy the requisite requirements and secure the relevant approvals in order to implement the transaction," "The necessary pre-implementation notifications have been provided and the probity assessments for the proposed combined group, as well as its subsidiaries, directors, officers and 'associates' have been completed."

The ACCC chairman Rod Sims commented on the Federal Court decision, “The ACCC is pleased that the Full Federal Court has set aside the decision.

“The ACCC argued that the tribunal had made an error in failing to assign less weight to benefits which would be retained by Tabcorp, its shareholders and the racing industry, and not shared with consumers more broad.”

The concerns about the immense market power the merged entity would obtain, and the subsequent lessening of competition are the safeguards the government has in place for the benefit of the consumer.  

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