CrownBet backs down from Tabcorp Tatts action amidst Will Hill and Paddy Power discussions

By Caroline Watson
Amidst discussions between Crown Resorts and both William Hill and Paddy Power, CrownBet has now decided to drop its long-running legal action against the possible merger between sports betting giants, Tabcorp and Tatts.

Earlier today, Tabcorp announced that rival CrownBet has agreed not to oppose the company’s $4.7bn takeover offer for Tatts Group. In a statement the company said: "CrownBet no longer opposes the merger of Tabcorp and Tatts and will not interfere in any way with the implementation of the merger."

Tabcorp’s offer for the lottery owner was cleared by an Australian tribunal earlier this month and CrownBet has agreed not to apply for judicial review of the tribunal’s decision.

Last week, Crown Resorts were forced to address media speculation that it is looking to divest its 62% interest in horse racing and sports betting brand CrownBet Pty Ltd, with UK bookmaker William Hill touted by several media outlets as the buyer.

Following this news, it came to light that Paddy Power Betfair was also looking to get in on the action, holding discussions with the operator over a possible offer for the online gaming business.

Both Will Hill and Paddy Power were looking to expand their operations overseas, but as of yet there has been little information about the content of the preliminary discussions.

Under an agreement with CrownBet, Tabcorp said it will supply a digital stream of horseracing channels SKY 1 and SKY 2 to CrownBet for the personal use of its Australian wagering customers on their mobile and PC devices.

Since 2006, this is the third time, Tabcorp and Tatts have attempted a merger, in a bid to create a gambling powerhouse. Due to the influx of international sportsbetting operators, the potential merger was hoping to fend off rivals such as William Hill and Paddy Power.

The CrownBet decision now moves Tabcorp and Tatts into greener pastures, in the hopes that their legal setbacks are finally behind them.

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