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Australian Gaming Titan Born

15 October 2003

AUSTRALIA – As reported by the Australian: "A new gambling giant will be born today with confirmation of a $2.5 billion alliance bringing together three former state-owned TABs.

"Escalating speculation about a merger between gambling companies Unitab of Queensland and NSW-based TAB yesterday forced both groups into a trading halt, after Unitab admitted on Monday the two group had held `intermittent' talks.

"The new entity is likely to be headquartered in Queensland and would boast the country's largest wagering pool. It will probably involve a swap of equity, possibly involving an effective reverse takeover of TAB by the much smaller Unitab.

"Queensland Premier Peter Beattie is expected to update Parliament today. It is believed he has met both parties and reached a solution to legislative impediments, such as Unitab's 10 per cent shareholder limit.

"…While Tabcorp looked to have its hands full, bedding down the $1.7 billion merger with Queensland casino group Jupiters, analysts are reluctant to rule out a merger or acquisition in the near future.

"…Based on 2003 full-year earnings, Goldman Sachs JB Were estimated consolidation of Unitab and TAB's wagering pools would realise combined turnover of about $7.2 billion, compared to about $2.6 billion for Tabcorp…"

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