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Australia – Macquarie bid to challenge Tabcorp’s merger with Tatts

By - 19 December 2016

A consortium including Macquarie Group, Morgan Stanley and First State Super has tabled a bid for Australian lottery and betting operator Tatts Group.

It challenges Australian betting rival Tabcorp’s $11.3bn plan to merge with Tatts. Whilst Tabcorp wants to buy Tatts Group in its entity, the Macquarie consortium wants to buy Tatt’s lottery business for $5bn. The bid for just the company’s lottery arm has already led to media speculation that British bookmakers William Hill and Ladbrokes are interested in bidding for the betting division of Tatts Group.

Tatts said in a statement: “The Tatts board has not yet formed a view on how the indicative proposal compares to the proposed Tabcorp merger.The Tatts board and its advisers will assess the indicative proposal including its terms, underlying financial assumptions and conditions, and will provide a further update on the outcome of that review as soon as practicable. In the meantime, the directors of Tatts continue to believe the proposed Tabcorp merger is in the best interests of Tatts shareholders and unanimously recommend the proposed Tabcorp merger, in the absence of a superior proposal and subject to an independent expert concluding the proposed Tabcorp merger is in the best interests of Tatts shareholders.”

Tabcorp responded by saying: “Tabcorp remains committed to completing its proposed combination with Tatts. Our proposal is simple, more certain and delivers for shareholders, the racing industry and a wide range of other stakeholders.”

Tabcorp meanwhile has been told it has illegally tried to lure gamblers to open new accounts with newspaper and online adverts in August 2015 that offered bonus bets as inducements.
Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court found Tabcorp guilty of the charges and will sentence in February.

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