SYDNEY, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Australian gambling companies Tatts Group Limited and Tabcorp Holdings Ltd requested trading halts on Tuesday to pursue talks to create a A$9.34 billion ($7.1 billion) industry giant.
An investment banker involved in talks between the pair, who declined to be named as he was not authorised to speak publicly, said no deal had been reached but discussions were serious and a transaction could be announced within the next two days.
In almost identical statements to the stock exchange, the companies requested trading halts until the beginning of trade on Wednesday, pending "a potential change of control transaction". A Tabcorp spokeswoman declined to comment. Tatts Group was not immediately available for comment.
The companies previously discussed a tie-up in 2015, when they failed to reach an agreement. Speculation about renewing that attempt has been rife as the pair continue to fight the deregulation of gambling licences.
Tabcorp and Tatts indicated in their statements on Tuesday that the deal under consideration would be done as a scheme of arrangement, which would require the approval of 75 percent of the target's shareholders by value through a vote at a shareholder meeting. ($1 = 1.3187 Australian dollars) (Editing by Jane Wardell and Stephen Coates)