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Could Crownbet make a surprise move for Tatts?

Thu, Jul 20, 9:24am by Staff Writer

Amid a flurry of merger and acquisition rumours in the Australian gambling and wagering industry, the jungle drums are beating about a possible takeover of Tatts by Crownbet.

Crownbet, partly owned by the James Packer-backed Crown Resorts, was one of the key objectors to the approval of an $11 billion super merger between Tatts and Tabcorp, which won the approval of the Australian Competition Tribunal last month.

The corporate bookmaker, headed by former Sportsbet founder Matt Tripp, has also joined the ACCC in appealing the ACT’s decision to the Federal Court.

But industry insiders are suggesting that Crownbet’s objection to the merger is about much more than concerns over competition in the wagering sector.

JP Morgan have said Crownbet’s strong financial position made it a legitimate bidder for Tatts should the Tabcorp merger fail to materialise,

Analysts put CrownBet’s second half earnings in 2017 at around $5.9 million, up 36 per cent from the same time last year, as the business undergoes a massive growth phase.

With the backing of Crown, who recently sold off their international assets, including its joint venture shareholding in casino company Melco Crown, Hunter Green Institutional Broking director Charlie Green told The Australian, that Crownbet could make a legitimate bid and the idea had merit.

The rumours come after Tatts rebuffed a $7.2 billion offer from the Macquarie backed Pacific Consortium earlier this year, preferring to proceed with its plans with Tabcorp.

Tabcorp has said it was confident that even with the merger approval being taken to the Federal court, it could complete the merger process by the end of 2017.

Crownbet and Tabcorp are currently in court on a separate matter after Crownbet snuck under Tabcorp’s guard to become digital wagering partner for Clubs NSW, allowing it to operate customer rewards programs in 100 clubs across NSW.

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