Tribunal approves Tabcorp-Tatts merger

Rival betting companies Racing Victoria and the national consumer watchdog had all objected to the proposal

Rival betting companies Racing Victoria and the national consumer watchdog had all objected to the proposal

Racing Victoria has expressed its disappointment with the decision by the Australian Competition Tribunal to approve the merger between wagering companies Tabcorp and the Tatts Group.

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.

The ruling vindicates Tabcorp's decision to bypass the usual arbiter of corporate buyouts, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), and take its planned deal straight to the Federal Court's ACT which usually acts as an appeal court.

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The decision handed down by ACT president Justice John Middleton placed only one condition on the merger, which was first floated in October previous year.

"The tribunal is satisfied in all the circumstances that the proposed merger would result, or would be likely to result, in such a benefit to the public that the acquisition should be allowed to occur", tribunal president Justice John Middleton said.

The ACT on Tuesday said public detriments identified by the ACCC were unlikely to arise or not of significance.

"[However, the ACCC] notes that the net public benefit test the Tribunal was required to apply is different to the substantial lessening of competition test the ACCC undertakes in its informal merger clearance process", an ACCC spokeswoman said in a brief statement.

Tatts jumped 3.6 per cent to $4.32 on the news, while the response was more muted for Tabcorp, up 0.4 per cent to $4.65 at the end of the day's trade.