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New bid for Australian gambling giant hits merger plan

AFP  |  Sydney 

Australian gaming and lottery giant Tatts said today it had received a revised multi-billion- dollar takeover offer from a consortium led by US private equity firm KKR, challenging a planned with rival Tabcorp.

The Pacific Consortium -- consisting off Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Macquarie Group, First State Superannuation Scheme and North Haven Infrastructure Partners -- made an all-bid of Aus$7.2 billion, a sweetened offer from last year's and scrip offer.

An all-bid does not require regulatory approvals.

Tatts had rejected the consortium's first proposal in December and said it was not superior to a tie-up with Tabcorp, which the firms have pursued for years in a bid to cut costs and chase opportunities globally.

In October, they announced a to create an Aus$8.6 billion (US$6.5 billion) powerhouse taking bets on horse racing and sports events across

But today Tatts said in a statement it "is undertaking a full analysis of its key terms, underlying financial assumptions and conditions". The fresh Pacific Consortium bid values each Tatts share at Aus$4.21.

"Once this review is complete, an update will be provided to the market."

Under the previous proposal, Tatts was valued at between Aus$4.40-$5.00 per share. The Tabcorp valued Tatts at Aus$4.34 per share.

Tatts' stock prices jumped 1.61 percent to Aus$4.42 today, while Tabcorp fell 0.63 per cent to Aus$4.70.

Concerns about the Tatts-Tabcorp merger were raised in March by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in relation to gambling services in Queensland state. The competition watchdog is due to announce its final decision on May 4.

Tabcorp has also lodged an application with the Australian Competition Tribunal, which hears applications for review of ACCC decisions, for merger approval.

Tatts Group has a betting shop network in the states of Queensland, South and Tasmania and also operates a lotteries business.

Tabcorp Holdings runs similar operations in Victoria and New South Wales, with a broadcasting and media arm built around Sky Racing.

Both companies also compete in online gambling.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, April 19 2017. 09:07 IST