The A$11 billion (US$8.9 billion) merger between Tabcorp and Tatts is looking more likely to be delayed after the Competition Tribunal set an October 24 to 25 date for the merger rehearing, The Australian reports.
The dates fall after an October 18 proposed meeting where Tatts shareholders are expected to vote on the deal.
“This is unavoidable because the tribunal must consider all matters that need to be considered now that the matter is back before the tribunal,” said Justice John Middleton, the president of the Competition Tribunal.
On Monday, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission threw more uncertainty into the mix in a submission to the tribunal, arguing that the tribunal has run out of time to hear the case.
“There is considerable doubt as to whether the tribunal still has jurisdiction to make a determination on Tabcorp’s application,” the ACCC said in its submission, prepared by Melbourne QC Andrew McClelland.
“In the circumstances, the most efficient and practical course would be for Tabcorp to make a further application for approval, so as to avoid debate and potential further dispute about the issue.”
If the ACCC gets its way, Tabcorp will have to make a fresh application to the tribunal, which will delay the merger process further.