The $11 billion merger of gaming giants Tabcorp and Tatts Group is again clear to proceed, with the Australian Competition Tribunal giving the deal a green light, subject to one condition.
The Australian Competition Tribunal (ACT) now says it will approve the merger if Tabcorp divests its Odyssey Gaming business in Queensland.
The merger was thrown into chaos in July after the ACT had to review its original approval because of objections from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and online wagering firm CrownBet.
Those objections resulted in a Federal Court order to revisit the decision.
The ACT said on Friday it is satisfied that the proposed merger is likely to result in substantial public benefits and that detriments identified by CrownBet – which is majority-owned by James Packer’s Crown Resorts – and the ACCC are unlikely to arise or are immaterial.
“The Tribunal is satisfied in all the circumstances that the proposed merger would result, or would likely to result, in such a benefit to the public that the acquisition should be allowed to occur,” ACT president Justice John Middleton, said.
Responding to the decision, the ACCC said it had sought the review of the ACT’s original decision to clarify the law.
“We achieved that objective, with the Full Court making it clear that the Tribunal was required to take in to account all competitive detriment that is likely to result from the proposed merger,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said in a statement.
Mr Sims said the ACCC will consider the reasons of the ACT’s decision when they are published by Justice Middleton on November 22.
A spokesman from CrownBet said in Friday that CrownBet will review the ACT’s decision and consider all of its options.
Tabcorp and Tatts Group shares remain in a trading halt.
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