Green light given to $11bn Tabcorp-Tatts merger
Tabcorp's merger with Tatts has been given the go ahead
The $11 billion merger between Tabcorp and Tatts is set to go ahead after the Australian Competition Tribunal gave the all-clear for the formation of the wagering giant on Tuesday.
Tabcorp operates the totalisator in Victoria and New South Wales, while Tatts Group control Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Northern Territory.
The merger had received opposition from corporate bookmakers, led by Crownbet and Sportsbet, Racing Victoria and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
In submissions to the Tribunal, the ACCC had raised a number of concerns surrounding the deal including its powerful position with vision rights through their multichannel broadcaster Sky Racing.
The concerns around a lessening of competition with Sky included greater barriers for other media outlets to make a play for vision rights and a reduction in revenue received by the principal racing authorities for their media rights.
Sky currently hold the rights for Queensland until 2020 and Tasmania until 2026 while South Australia last week announced a seven-year deal with Racing.com.
There had been speculation that Tabcorp could be forced to sell Sky as part of the deal, however the only condition handed down by the Tribunal on Tuesday was for Tabcorp to divest its Queensland-based pokies monitoring business Odyssey Gaming.
Tabcorp immediately agreed to the condition.
The Tribunal said it was satisfied that the proposed merger would likely result in substantial public benefits and the public detriments identified by the ACCC and others were unlikely to either arise or were not significant.
Further reasoning will be published by the Tribunal on Thursday.
Tabcorp withdrew from the ACCC's approval process in March, instead gambling on regulatory approval through the competition tribunal.
Both Tabcorp and Tatts went into a trading halt on Tuesday morning prior to the tribunal's decision