Australian tribunal clears bookmaker Tabcorp to buy lotto firm for $4.7 bln


UPDATE 1-Australian tribunal clears bookmaker Tabcorp to buy lotto firm for $4.7 bln

(Adds background, shares)
    SYDNEY, June 20 (Reuters) - Australia's competition watchdog
said on Tuesday it would let the country's top sports betting
company, Tabcorp Holdings Ltd <TAH.AX>, buy lottery owner Tatts
Group Ltd <TTS.AX> for A$6.15 billion ($4.67 billion).
    Australian Competition Tribunal president John Middleton
said in a written summary of his ruling that he was "satisfied
that the proposed merger is likely to result in substantial
public benefits".
    Middleton said the only condition he would impose on the
proposed deal would be that Tabcorp proceed with a planned sale
of a gambling compliance business.
    The ruling vindicates Tabcorp's decision to bypass the usual
arbiter of corporate buyouts, the Australian Competition and
Consumer Commission (ACCC), and take its planned deal straight
to the Federal Court's ACT which usually acts as an appeal
    In March, the ACCC published a lengthy list of concerns
about the proposed deal, although it made no ruling. Tabcorp
then offered to sell gambling compliance unit Odyssey before
presenting its case to the ACT. [nL3N1GL5K5]
    ACT President Middleton said he would publish his reasons
for the decision in two days.
    A Tabcorp spokesman was not immediately available for
comment, while a Tatts spokesman said the company had no
    Shares of Tabcorp and Tatts were in a trading halt on
Tuesday morning.

 (Reporting by Byron Kaye; Editing by Stephen Coates)
 ((byron.kaye@thomsonreuters.com; +612 9321 8164; Reuters
Messaging: byron.kaye.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net;


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