Tabcorp Likely to Get Unitab

Giant gaming firm, Tabcorp Holdings, could still win approval for its AU$1.9 billion (US$1.5 billion) takeover bid for Unitab, despite some concerns raised by the regulators.

Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) Chairman Graeme Samuel has recently said he had "potentially significant competition concerns" about Tabcorp's plan to buy Unitab.

ACCC is concerned that if Tabcorp gets the deal, then there would only be one Australian wagering pool for events like horse racing. ACCC deemed it is just proper to solicit market comment on the potential scenario before making a final decision on Aug. 16.

Asked about his opinion on the potential outcome of Tabcorp's bid, Mark Daniels, a fund manager at Aberdeen Asset Management said, "They (Tabcorp) probably just have to go back to the ACCC with a couple of points to be clarified and I think they'll probably then get the nod."

Aberdeen Asset Management is one of Tabcorp's largest shareholders.

Unitab has attracted competing bids from Tabcorp and the lottery operator Tattersall's, both based in Melbourne.

In its bid to buy Unitab, Tabcorp is in competition with another gaming giant, Tattersall's. Tabcorp is eyeing the elimination of a rival bidder for Tabcorp's license in Victoria, which expires in 2012 once the firm owned Unitab.

Meanwhile, Tattersall's chief executive officer, Duncan Fischer, hinted no interest in extending his firm's bid for Unitab once it expires on Aug. 31.

"We don't currently intend to support any further delays," Fischer told reporters. "Where we stand today, I don't think that there will be any extension."



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