Tabcorp switches regulatory supervisor for Tatts merger

Tabcorp Holdings has confirmed that the Australian Competition Tribunal (ACT) is to assume regulatory supervision for its planned merger with Tatts Group.

The two firms had been working with the Australia Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on the deal, which could lead to the creation of a combined operation worth approximately A$11.3 billion (€8 billion/US$8.5 billion).

However, Tabcorp has switched to the ACT as it looks to push ahead with the merger.

In a statement issued to investors confirming the move, the operator said: “Tabcorp has formed a view that it has a compelling case to pursue a merger authorisation application in the ACT.

“Under the authorisation test, the Tribunal balances public benefits of the proposed transaction against likely detriments, including competitive detriments.

“This differs from the test the ACCC applies, which is limited to assessing whether a proposed acquisition is likely to substantially lessen competition, and is not able to take into account countervailing public benefits.

“The merger authorisation will likely deliver greater transaction certainty compared to the informal clearance process by requiring the consideration of public benefits.

“Importantly, the merger authorisation application is considered within a statutory timetable.”

Last week, it emerged that the ACCC had raised concerns over the deal, stating that the planned merger is “likely to substantially lessen competition”.

In response, Tabcorp said it would consider selling its Odyssey gaming machine monitoring business to help ease any concerns over the deal.

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