Tabcorp merger thrown into disarray

The A$11 billion (US$8.9 billion) merger between Australia’s Tabcorp and Tatts Group hit a rather large snag on Wednesday after the federal court ruled that the decision be sent back to the Australian Competition Tribunal (ACT), local media reports.

The latest court decision is a result of a July appeal from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), which alleged that the ACT made three “reviewable errors” in its decision to allow the merger to proceed.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims said he was “pleased’’ with the decision but would be waiting to see the details of the judgement.

“The ACCC argued that the tribunal had made an error in failing to assign less weight to benefits which would be retained by Tabcorp, its shareholders and the racing industry, and not shared with consumers more broadly,” Mr Sims said, quoted by The Australian.

Crownbet, which joined the ACCC in appealing the ACT decision, also welcomed the ruling.

“I look forward to it going back to the competition tribunal and would be hoping for a different outcome when it hears the case again,’’ said Crownbet chief executive Matt Tripp.

The Tribunal has been given a week to make a new determination.