KKR-backed consortium makes $4.7 bln cash offer for Australia's Tatts

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- Tatts Group has received a A$6.2 billion ($4.7 billion) takeover proposal from a group including USA buyout firm KKR, the Australian lottery operator said on April 19.

Tatts is now subject of a merger proposal with Tabcorp.

"In the meantime Tatts' Directors continue to believe the proposed Tabcorp merger is in the best interests of Tatts shareholders and unanimously recommend the proposed Tabcorp merger, in the absence of a superior proposal and subject to an independent expert concluding the proposed Tabcopr merger is in the best interests of Tatts shareholders".

Tatts said the cash offer may include a fully-franked special dividend of up to 25 cents per share.

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This morning, Tatts Group shares have risen 1.38% to $4.41.

"Once this review is complete, an update will be provided to the market", Tatts said in a statement.

"The KKR consortium, known as the Pacific Consortium, includes Macquarie Group, Morgan Stanley Infrastructure and First State, and initially put forward a proposal to buy the Tatts lotteries business past year and float its wagering arm". The offer is for the entire Tatts business although the main prize is Tatts' lotteries division. The consortium's offer is all-cash, which does not require regulatory approvals. It had an earlier proposal, in cash and shares, rejected by the Tatts board in December. Tatts shareholders will control 58% of the enlarged entity, with Tabcorp's shareholders holding the remaining 42%.

So much for the hairy chested suggestion last month from Tabcorp that it would run off to the Australian Competition Tribunal to try and by pass that nasty Australian Competition and Consumer Commission which wants the company to sell off its Queensland poker machine monitory business as a condition before approving the $11 billion merger with rival gaming group, Tatts.

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Pacific Consortium Chairwoman Kerry Schott said the all-cash proposal provided greater certainty for investors and was free of competition issues.

A buyout consortium has made a fresh attempt to gatecrash the betting group's takeover by rival Tabcorp.

Shares in Tatts are down nearly 3% year to date.

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