ACCC will not challenge ACT ruling over Tabcorp-Tatts merger

4 December 2017

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) does not intend to challenge the Australian Competition Tribunal’s (ACT) decision to clear the proposed merger between Tabcorp and Tatts Group.

Tabcorp and Tatts said that in the wake of this announcement, they expect the merger to go through on December 22 – subject to final approvals.

The two companies have agreed a deal to link up and create a combined business worth approximately Aus$11bn (€7.04bn/US$8.35bn), although the process has been delayed by a series of issues.

In June, the ACCC opted to formally oppose the merger after the ACT approved the deal, with the national competition watchdog denying claims that the move would be of significant public benefit.

Although the ACT stuck by its original decision, the ACCC in July applied to the Federal Court for a ‘justice review’ of the deal, after ACCC chairman Rod Sims said the tribunal made a number of “reviewable errors” during its decision-making process.

The Federal Court opted to upheld this appeal and ruled that the matter should be returned to the ACT for further consideration.

However, the ACT last month ruled the deal could go through, on the condition that Tabcorp sells its Odyssey Gaming business – a measure Tabcrop has since agreed to.

Last week, Tabcorp and Tatts were given a further boost when Crownbet, the online gaming business that had been one of the leading opponents to the deal, withdrew its challenge in the ACT in exchange for its customers being able to stream Tabcorp’s Sky Racing Vision.

In a statement confirming the ACCC’s current position on the deal, Tabcorp and Tatts said: “Tabcorp and Tatts have now waived the competition condition precedent in the merger implementation deed,” the two companies said.

“Other than Tatts shareholder consideration of the proposed combination at a meeting scheduled for December 12 and further consideration by the Supreme Court of Victoria at a hearing scheduled for the December 13, there are no other conditions precedent to the implementation of the transaction.”

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