Tatts-Tabcorp deal gets the green light – again

17 November, 2017 by Andy Young

The Australian Competition Tribunal (ACT) has once again granted authorisation for the proposed merger of Tabcorp and the Tatts Group to go ahead.

It’s the second time the ACT has given the deal the green light, after its original decision in June this year was appealed by the ACCC and CrownBet. That appeal was granted by the Full Federal Court in September and referred back to the ACT for reconsideration.

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The ACT’s decision to grant authorisation is once again subject to the condition that Tabcorp must divest its Odyssey Gaming Service business in Queensland. In April this year, Tabcorp announced that it had agreed a deal with Australian National Hotels Pty Ltd, to sell Odyssey, subject to the Tatts merger going ahead.

Both Tatts and Tabcorp have welcomed the tribunal’s decision, with the latter saying the ruling “represents a significant step towards implementing the transaction”.

The Tribunal will publish the reasons for its decision on 22 November 2017, but has stated that the merger is likely to result in substantial public benefits and that the detriments identified by the ACCC and CrownBet are unlikely to either arise or are not otherwise material.

The ACT was satisfied in all the circumstances that the proposed transaction would result or would be likely to result in such a benefit to the public that the acquisition should be allowed to occur.

Tatts shareholders will now vote on the merger at a Scheme Meeting, due to be held on 30 November and Tabcorp has said that it “continues to work towards implementing the Transaction prior to the end of the 2017 calendar year”.

Tabcorp has already obtained all the necessary state and territory pre-approvals required for the merger.