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Macquarie makes move to acquire Tatts and spoil Tabcorp merger

Wed, Dec 14, 12:07pm by Staff Writer

The proposed merger between Tatts and Tabcorp hit another potential hurdle on Wednesday when a third-party consortium, led by Macquarie Group, launched a surprise bid for Tatts.

The new bid could trump plans for the two gambling and wagering giants to combine and form a massive industry powerhouse which would dominate retail wagering and lottery provision throughout Australia.

The Australian Financial Review is reporting that the Macquarie led consortium includes KKR, North Haven Infrastructure Partners and First State Super and has put in a bid at more than $4.40 a share, at least six cents north of the proposed deal with Tabcorp.

However, the AFR believes the Macquarie bid is mainly focussed on acquiring the strong Tatts lottery brand.

The original merger had the approval of the Tatts board, something this current offer is yet to achieve

“Tatts has not yet formed a view on how the indicative proposal compares to the proposed Tabcorp merger,” it said in a statement.

“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.”

Tatts shares jumped from $4.14 to $4.62 when the market opened on Wednesday but have since settled at around $4.50.

Tabcorp remains committed to its proposal to merge, which would create a behemoth worth over $11 billion.

“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,” it said in a statement.

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