OPPOSITION TO TABCORP-TATTS MERGER INCREASES WITH CROWNBET WEIGHING IN

Written on the 14 July 2017 by Ben Hall

OPPOSITION TO TABCORP-TATTS MERGER INCREASES WITH CROWNBET WEIGHING IN ONLINE betting company CrownBet has joined the consumer watchdog in calling for a judicial review of the proposed $11 billion merger of gaming giants Tabcorp (ASX: TAH) and Tatts Group (ASX: TTS).

The Australian Competition Tribunal (ACT) granted authorisation for the Tabcorp-Tatts merger in June, ruling the deal would create substantial public benefits.

The move by CrownBet, which is 62 per cent-owned by James Packer-controlled casinos operator Crown Resorts, follows an application earlier this week from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) which contends the ACT may have made three errors of law in its decision.

Tabcorp and Tatts released a joint statement to the ASX saying they will oppose the CrownBet application and "will pursue an expedited hearing of the matter".

Tabcorp has already said it will oppose the ACCC's application and that Tabcorp and Tatts remained committed to their proposed merger.

The ACCC claims the tribunal made errors that are fundamental to the case and to future merger assessments.

Tabcorp initially sought informal merger clearance from the ACCC but, shortly after the watchdog published a statement of issues in March, withdrew the application and instead lodged an application for authorisation with the ACT.

The ACCC and Australian Competition Tribunal apply different tests when assessing a merger.

The ACCC considers if there would be a substantial lessening of competition, while the tribunal can authorise a merger if the public benefits outweigh the public detriments.

Business News Australia

Author: Ben Hall

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