Monday, 18 December 2017 Sydney
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Australian Competition Tribunal decision on Tabcorp-Tatts merger::

The Australian Competition Tribunal has made its determination granting merger authorisation for Tabcorp to acquire Tatts.  

The Full Federal Court had previously set aside an earlier determination from the Tribunal and remitted the matter back to the Tribunal for reconsideration.

“When the ACCC sought review of the Tribunal’s earlier determination, our purpose was to clarify the law. We achieved that objective, with the Full Court making it clear that the Tribunal was required to take in to account all competitive detriment that is likely to result from the proposed merger,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

“The Tribunal has now reconsidered the evidence, in relation to both anti-competitive detriment and public benefit, and concluded that the merger is likely to result in such benefit that it should be permitted to proceed,” Mr Sims said. 

The Tribunal expects to publish its reasons on Wednesday, 22 November. The ACCC will then consider the Tribunal’s reasons for this decision. 

Background

Tabcorp sought informal merger clearance and the ACCC commenced a review of the proposed acquisition in November 2016.

In March 2017, shortly after the ACCC had published a statement of issues regarding the proposed acquisition, Tabcorp withdrew its application for informal clearance from the ACCC and lodged an application for authorisation with the Australian Competition Tribunal.

In June 2017, the Australian Competition Tribunal granted merger authorisation for Tabcorp to acquire Tatts.

The ACCC applied to the Federal Court for judicial review of the Australian Competition Tribunal’s decision on 10 July 2017.

Crownbet Limited filed a separate application for judicial review.

The Full Court of the Federal Court heard the applications for judicial review by both the ACCC and Crownbet on 28 and 29 August 2017.

In September 2017 the Full Federal Court upheld the ACCC’s application for judicial review, setting aside the original decision of the Australian Competition Tribunal to grant authorisation and remitting the matter back to the Tribunal for reconsideration. Due to uncertainty about the Tribunal’s jurisdiction to reconsider the original application, Tabcorp also lodged a fresh application, which was heard and considered at the same time as the reconsideration of the original application.