July 11, 2017 / 6:53 AM / a year ago

Australia's Tabcorp says $4.7 bln Tatts takeover delayed by regulator

SYDNEY, July 11 (Reuters) - Australia’s biggest horse race betting company Tabcorp Holdings Ltd said a A$6.15 billion ($4.7 billion) buyout of lottery owner Tatts Group Ltd will be delayed after the country’s antitrust regulator challenged the deal in court.

Earlier this year, Tabcorp and Tatts took the unusual step of applying to the court-run Australian Competition Tribunal (ACT) for deal clearance after the usual arbiter, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), raised concerns.

The tribunal approved the deal. But the commission then asked the Federal Court to review that decision, saying the tribunal misused certain tests which competition regulators use to determine if a deal will hurt competition, and gave inappropriate weightings to data about the effects of the takeover.

On Tuesday, Tabcorp said it will oppose the commission’s appeal and that it and Tatts remain committed to the takeover.

Tabcorp said the appeal “will impact the timing of the implementation of the transaction, though the precise impact will not be known until the court has considered the matter”.

“Tabcorp considers that implementation remains achievable in the last quarter of 2017,” it said.

Tabcorp published its response to the commission’s appeal after the close of share trading on Tuesday.

Earlier, Tabcorp shares fell 0.2 percent and Tatts shares fell 0.7 percent, in a flat overall market. ($1 = 1.3127 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Byron Kaye; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

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