The governance of Tabcorp Holdings remains positive that it will conclude its planned AUS $11 billion merger with Tatts Group despite this week’s set-back following the Australian Federal Court’s ruling to ‘refer back’ the deal’s review by the Australian Competition Tribunal (ACT).
The Tabcorp-Tatts merger hit a further hurdle on Wednesday, as the Federal Court sided with former deal supervising body the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) who had placed an appeal stating the ACT had failed in its competition and stakeholders review of the combination.
Justice Nye Perram would uphold the appeal, ordering the ACT to re-review Tabcorp-Tatts taking into account the stakeholder wide concerns put forward as ‘review errors’ by the ACCC.
Issuing an ASX market note, Tabcorp governance has detailed that it still plans to complete the merger by its specified target month of November 2017. The operator notes that should the ACT fulfil the review of stakeholder concerns by the end of September, the merger deal will put forward to Tatts Group shareholders for final vote on Wednesday 18 October.
Reassuring investors and stakeholders, Tabcorp this morning issued a corporate statement detailing that it had ‘obtained all necessary pre-implementation approvals of the relevant State and Territory gambling regulatory authorities’.
An under-pressure Tabcorp governance has been pressed to deliver the Tatts merger in 2017, a year in which the ASX-listed operator has had little to cheer about.
During the first half of 2017, Tabcorp would be fined a record AUS $45 million (£27 million) fine by Australian financial watchdog AUSTRAC for severe breaches with regards to its money-laundering standards and all-around corporate compliance failures.
This August, Tabcorp governance would report full-year 2016-2017 losses of AUS $20.8 million, as the operator was burdened by high merger costs combined with the poor performance of its UK Sun Bets division which declared an operating loss of an operating loss of $47.6 million (£28.8 million).