Wagering giant Tabcorp has taken its $11 billion planned merger with Tatts group to the Australian Competition Tribunal (ACT).
Tabcorp is seeking tribunal authorisation for the proposed merger, which was unveiled in October, after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) identified competition concerns earlier this month.
Tabcorp says it has withdrawn its application for informal clearance from the ACCC and has lodged an application with the ACT, in the belief it has “a compelling case” for the tribunal, which considers a balance of public benefits rather than solely any lessening of competition.
Chief executive David Attenborough said Tabcorp believes the merger authorisation process will deliver greater transaction certainty.
“It enables public benefits, including our strong funding relationship with the racing industry, to be taken into account,” he said.
Tabcorp is in the process of selling its Odyssey Gaming Services after the ACCC raised concerns that the merger would significantly lessen the competition in the Queensland poker machine supply business.
The ACCC was also assessing the impact of combining Tabcorp’s racing broadcast business, Sky Racing, with Tatts’ retail wagering business.
It was concerned the Tabcorp-Tatts merged entity could use its size and control of racing broadcasts to force pubs and clubs to not allow corporate bookmakers to advertise in the venues or to block agreements with other entities to provide digital gambling services.
Tabcorp shares were up 11 cents, or 2.5 per cent, to $4.60 at 1216 AEDT, while Tatts shares were two cents lower at $4.26.