Full Federal Court refers Tabcorp-Tatts decision back to the Tribunal

Full Federal Court refers Tabcorp-Tatts decision back to the Tribunal”

Tabcorp's merger with gaming rival Tatts will be re-examined by the Australian Competition Tribunal following a successful legal challenge from the competition watchdog.

However, the concerns raised by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in conjunction with the casino operator Crown Bet about the impact on Queensland state's gambling services were sufficient to refer the case to federal court.

The Federal Court will reveal its reasons for handing the matter back to the Tribunal in due course. Normally, the ACCC would get the first look at the proposal before it passed to the ACT - but Tatts and Tabcorp opted to go straight to the tribunal panel to get their decision.

The ACCC and CrownBet asked the Full Federal Court to review the decision, with the ACCC alleging that "reviewable errors" had been made by the tribunal in its assessment.

The tribunal granted approval with a single minor condition, and dismissed a list of concerns raised by the ACCC and other wagering operators about the enormous market power that the merged Tabcorp-Tatts behemoth would command.

In its court order, the ACCC alleged that the ACT had made a number of "review errors" with regards to Tabcorp-Tatts combination, further stating that wider stakeholder concerns should be reassessed by the Tribunal.

"The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is pleased that the Full Federal Court has set aside the decision", Rod Sims, Chairman for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, reportedly told the newspaper.

While the ruling is a setback to Tabcorp and Tatts Group's plans, Tabcorp reinforced to shareholders that it is "committed to the transaction" and material sent to Tatts shareholders outlines the future of the merger.

When the deal was announced last October the Tabcorp share price was $4.89, which indicated that Tatts shares were worth $4.34.

I can feel a class action or two coming on and this time don't worry about shareholders suing shareholders.

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