Wednesday South Africa’s Sun International (JSE: SUI) announced that it planned to halt its R9.5 billion ($623 million) plan to take over rival Peermont Group. South Africa’s Competition Commission recommended that Sun International’s 100% takeover of Peermont’s holding company be blocked last December.
Sun International is the largest purveyor of gambling venues in South Africa and has holdings in Latin America. The Commission was concerned that the merger would create a casino monopoly in the nation’s most populated and economically successful province, Gauteng.
Peermont owns and operates 9 casino resorts, a stand alone casino, and three freehold hotels in South Africa and Botswana. In late February, on the heels of the failed take over, Sun International sought a settlement with Peermont that would help it retain a planned integrated resort in Tshwane on Menlyn Maine, dubbed Times Square. Before take over/merger plans were announced, Peermont had opposed Sun’s attempt to move their casino license from their Morula casino in Mabopane to Tshwane.
Reuters Africa reported on Wednesday, “I can confirm that we informed the Tribunal that we have abandoned our intention to merge, and will not be taking any further steps to implement the merger,” Sun International spokesman Michael Farr said, in reference to the Competition Tribunal, an anti-monopoly oversight agency.
“The parties informed the Tribunal at a pre-hearing that there was uncertainty as to whether the merger would go ahead and asked for the case to be removed from the roll,” said a statement by the Competition Tribunal.