Tabcorp wins approval for Tatts Group acquisition

20 June 2017

The Australian Competition Tribunal (ACT) has today (Tuesday) given approval to the proposed merger between Tabcorp and Tatts Group.

First announced in October of last year, Tabcorp and Tatts said the deal will lead to the creation of a combined business worth A$11.3bn (€7.7bn/US$8.6bn).

The ACT will publish the reasons behind its approval later this week, with the only condition ordered by ACT president Justice John Middleton that Tabcorp sell its Odyssey gaming machine monitoring business.

Tabcorp had already revealed plans to sell off the division to help ease concerns over the deal, and has now said that the merger should go through by August this year.

Paula Dwyer, chairman of Tabcorp, said: “Tabcorp welcomes today's decision by the Tribunal; it represents an important step towards creating a world-class, diversified gambling entertainment group that is expected to deliver significant value for both sets of shareholders and material benefits to other key stakeholders including Australian racing industries, business partners, employees, customers and governments.

“The combination will bring together two great Australian businesses, well positioned to invest, innovate and compete in a global gambling entertainment marketplace.

“We look forward to continuing to work with Tatts to successfully complete the transaction and are working towards implementation in August 2017.”

Earlier this month, doubts were raised over the merger after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission formally opposed the deal.

The Australian newspaper reported that Andrew McClelland QC, counsel for the country’s competition watchdog, denied Tabcorp claims in the Australian Competition Tribunal that the merger would be of significant public benefit, adding that cost savings set out were “inherently implausible” and “speculative”.

However, today’s approval form the ACT looks set to dispel any lasting concerns over the deal.

Related articles: Tabcorp-Tatts merger in doubt after ACCC opposes deal
Tabcorp-Tatts merger - competition, product offering and media rights (paywall)
Tabcorp and Tatts Group plan A$11.3bn merger deal