ustralian Competition Tribunal’s Justice John MiddletonJustice Middleton noted he wanted the matter considered and determined “as soon as practically possible’’.
“The tribunal is tentatively of the view that it may be possible that any further consideration can be dealt with on the papers without an oral hearing. The lawyers for the parties and participants are fully aware of the issues involved and the factual matrix already determined by the tribunal,’’ he wrote in the letter.
He asked the parties to provide written submissions by next Monday, with any reply by the close of business Tuesday.
“The tribunal would then further consider and determine the matter. If the issues in contention are of small compass, the tribunal would endeavour to make a new determination by September 28 after considering the submissions of the parties and the participants’’
The original ruling approving the merger drew criticism from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACC), which decided to take the case to the higher court.
The Federal Court’s specific reasons for sending the case back the Tribunal are not known. Under Aussie law, the Court’s decisions are not made public for five days. However, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, the Court said, “The court orders that the decision of the tribunal be set aside and the matter be referred back to the [Australian Competition Tribunal] for consideration.
Seeking approval from the Australian Competition Tribunal could be risky for Tabcorp-Tatts interests considering that in its original ruling, the Tribunal okayed the deal between the two giants by just one vote.
Commenting on why he opposes the merger deal, Crownbet Chief, Matt Trip, said, “The merger is bad for competition, bad for punters and not in the public interest.”
Tabcorp-Tatts stated it will continue fighting to make the merger happen.