Big boost for Tatts Group Limited merger with Tabcorp Holdings Limited

In Australia, the proposed $8.3 billion mega-merger of bookmaker Tatts Group Limited (TTS.AX) with Horse-race betting giant Tabcorp Holdings Limited (TAH.AX) could now reportedly be completed before Christmas after local rival CrownBet dropped its long-running opposition to the deal.

According to a report from The Australian Financial Review newspaper, the union was first announced in October of last year and is set to create a new entity offering a wide range of sportsbetting, lottery, keno and gaming services. Despite several earlier objections from CrownBet along with Racing Victoria Limited, and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the deal purportedly received final approvals from the Australian Competition Tribunal earlier this month and is now to be put to a vote before Tatts Group Limited shareholders on December 12.

The newspaper reported that CrownBet, which feared being squeezed out of the local horseracing market, had threatened to take its opposition to the planned merger all the way to federal court for a judicial review. However, the bookmaker purportedly relented earlier today after inking an agreement that will see it gain access to live horseracing streams broadcast by Tabcorp Holdings Limited’s Sky Racing television channel.

“CrownBet no longer opposes the merger of Tabcorp [Holdings Limited] and Tatts [Group Limited] and will not interfere in any way with the implementation of the merger,” reportedly read a statement from Melbourne-based CrownBet, which is 62% owned by Australian casino operator Crown Resorts Limited.

The Australian Financial Review reported that the live stream deal is expected to give CrownBet access to more thoroughbred and harness horseracing action than any other corporate bookmaker in Australia although it does not cover New South Wales as this market has already been snapped up on an exclusive basis by William Hill.

Finally, the newspaper explained that Tatts Group Limited and Tabcorp Holdings Limited are now planning to complete their merger on December 22 subject to shareholder approval and a favorable reaction from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

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