The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has said that it will not apply for a judicial review of the Australian Competition Tribunal’s (ACT) determination to grant conditional authorisation to the proposed merger of Tabcorp and the Tatts Group.

The ACT initially approved the deal in June, but that decision was appealed by both the ACCC and CrownBet, with the Federal Court upholding the application for a judicial review. In November the ACT once again granted merger authority to Tabcorp and Tatts. The ACCC has decided it will not apply for a further judicial review of the authorisation.

“The ACCC has closely examined the Tribunal’s reasons. Unlike the original decision of the Tribunal we do not consider there is any error of law that needs to be corrected. For this reason the ACCC will not be seeking further review,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

“While the ACCC takes a different view from the Tribunal on the extent of the public benefits and detriments arising from the proposed merger, there is no avenue of appeal that would test the merits of the Tribunal’s decision.

“The ACCC takes the view that the proposed merger of these two large and close competitors will lessen competition, but because they chose to apply to the Tribunal, the ACCC never reached a conclusion as to whether or not the lessening would amount to a substantial lessening of competition,” Sims added.

Tabcorp has also revealed that it has entered into a series of agreements with CrownBet over the Tatts merger, the proposed arrangements with clubs in NSW and the supply of digital racing vision to CrownBet’s customers.

Regarding the agreements, Tabcorp said: “CrownBet has agreed not to apply for judicial review of the Tribunal’s decision on 22 November 2017 to grant authorisation for the Transaction. CrownBet has also agreed not to take any action which would impede the implementation of the Transaction.

“CrownBet has agreed not to commence any further court proceedings in relation to the subject matter of the NSW Supreme Court declaration it was previously seeking in relation to the legal status of their proposed arrangements with clubs in NSW.

“Tabcorp has agreed a commercial arrangement with CrownBet for Tabcorp to supply a digital stream of SKY 1 and SKY 2 to CrownBet for the personal use of its Australian wagering customers on their own mobile and PC devices. Supply of vision is conditional on the agreements Tabcorp has with each Australian racing code and each international jurisdiction and also on implementation of the combination with Tatts. Under the commercial terms of the arrangement, CrownBet will make payments to Tabcorp, subject to an annual minimum amount.”

Tatts shareholders will now vote on the proposed merger at a Scheme Meeting, which is scheduled to take place in Brisbane on 12 December.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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