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Australia’s Racing chiefs favour Tabcorp to take over Tatts Group

Thu, Apr 20, 1:03pm by Staff Writer

Tabcorp’s bid for Tatts Group has the backing of the leaders in the Australian racing industry, in front of the Pacific Consortium’s new offer. One of the main reasons for the support is the flow on affect to the national industry that a link-up of the two wagering giants would provide.

On Wednesday, the Tatts board informed shareholders of the consortium’s – which is led by KKR and Macquarie – offer of $7.3 billion, an all-cash bid which values the Queensland company at $4.21bn.

That’s not the bid that several key racing figures favour though, they would like to see a single national wagering pool created so that all three racing codes would profit more from a Tabcorp and Tatts merger.

If the two wagering groups were put together, Racing Queensland has estimated it would be $20 million-$25m better off due to a larger tote pool.

Chairman Steve Wilson, who is also the former founder of Wilson HTM stockbrokers, said that it wouldn’t just be racing the sunshine state that benefited but racing across the entire country would see the profits.

However, Mr Wilson said he is willing to negotiate with the Pacific consortium’s offer, if it’s bid progresses, he also acknowledges that his state’s industry is struggling behind their NSW counterparts.

The thoroughbred industry was also critical of the consortium’s bid, because Macquarie has previously mentioned that it could branch off the wagering business, which suggests it had no passion in racing.

Former chairman of Racing Australia and Racing NSW and now Arrowfield Stud principal – John Messara – also backed a single national betting pool, which could lead to higher prizemoney for all states.

A 2016 annual report showed that Tabcorp returned $773.2 million to the racing industry, mainly in NSW and Queensland, which was up 5.2 per cent on the previous year.

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