The Australian Competition Tribunal has to decide on whether the merger between Tabcorp and Tatts will hurt competition or not.
Australia.- A 14-day hearings period will start this week as Australian Competition Tribunal (ACT) studies the merger between Australian gambling operator Tabcorp and Tatts Group. The process will help the court decide on the effects that the A$11 billion (US$8.12 billion) deal will have on competition in the country.
Hearings will start this week, end next June 2 and the ACT’s decision is expected to be announced on June 13. But prior to the process, last week Tabcorp representatives accused the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) during a directions hearing before the Federal Court of Australia of favouring the merger’s adversaries.
The company decided in March to bypass the ACCC and take the deal to the ACT, which is a higher authority. As reported by Casino News Daily, Tabcorp’s senior counsel Cameron Moore commented that its three main opposers, CrownBet, Racing Victoria and Racing.com, argued that competition would be null if the merger was approved only to protect their own interests, and not the market’s as a whole.
Moore commented that the ACCC favoured their stance: the commission argued that the benefits (public ones and synergies of A$130 million or US$96 million) of the deal were overstated by Tabcorp and that the deal would erase competition. That’s why the company decided to appeal to the ACT, a tribunal presided by a Federal Court judge that has rarely had to consider a merger deal in the past.