Tabcorp-Tatts merger edges closer after ACT approval

Tabcorp and Tatts Group have overcome a major barrier in their effort to merge after the Australian Competition Tribunal (ACT) approved the deal.

The two firms have agreed to join forces and create a combined business worth approximately A$11bn (€7.04bn/US$8.3bn), although the process has been delayed by a series of issues.

The ACT previously gave its approval to the merger, but the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) aired concerns regarding the level of competition in the country should the merger go through and in July applied to the Federal Court for a ‘justice review’ of the decision.

In September, the Court ruled that the matter should be returned to the ACT for further consideration, and the regulatory body has now ruled the merger can go through, on the condition that Tabcorp sells its Odyssey Gaming business.

The decision upholds a ruling by ACT president Justice John Middleton, who had previously ordered Tabcorp to sell its gaming machine monitoring business.

ABC has today (Friday) published a statement from Justice Middleton about the decision, which said “the proposed merger is likely to result in substantial public benefits” and that “the detriments identified by the ACCC and the interveners are unlikely to either arise or are not otherwise material”.

Justice Middleton also said: “The tribunal is satisfied in all the circumstances that the proposed merger would result, or would be likely to result, in such a benefit to the public that the acquisition should be allowed to occur.”

The ACT is expected to publish the reasons behind its decision on November 22.

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