ACCC drops out injunction against merger

The ACCC decided to cancel its injunction request to stop the merger between Tabcorp and Tatts, in order to allow the regulator to focus on the appeal.

Australia.- The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has decided to remove the injunction request to stop Tabcorp and Tatts from merging the companies, as it believes that the Australian Competition Tribunal’s (ACT) should focus solely on the appeal.

Rod Sims, chairman of the ACCC revealed that the ACCC stopped the request in order to allow the ACT to focus on just one thing, the appeal, which is set to be heard at the end of August, as The Australian reported. “We are saving our resources to focus on the main game,” said Sims, who also commented that Tabcorp wasn’t expected to try to complete the deal before the appeal took place.

In mid-June, the ACT approved a future merger that is set to create one US$8.12 billion entity, since the body believed that both companies met all requirements. ACT president Justice John Middleton said last month that the companies would have the OK from the tribunal if Tabcorp sold its pokies monitoring business in Queensland called Odyssey Gaming. On its part, the company had already revealed that it would sell the business to Australian Federal hotels if the ACT approved the merger.

Sims told the news outlet that the regulator felt like it was an obligation to appeal the tribunal’s decision: “We felt that the basis of the tribunal’s decision, in three particular aspects, was a departure from what we thought was the usual and appropriate approach. We feel that there is a fair bit of logic in our position in the sense that counting only substantial detriments when you’re counting all benefits just seems strange.” Moreover, he said that the court will have the final say and that they will respect that, but the issues have to be clarified. “We think the way these things have been applied in the past have a lot of logic to it, so we are hopeful we can convince the court of that.”

If the appeal is successful, the measure will be moved back to the tribunal for review, if not, the merged business would control 90 percent of the Australian betting industry, as it would also generate US$3.8 billion in revenues.

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