Italian Sportsbetting Giant Rejects Takeover Bid


Private equity companies offered Euro 600 million

The Italian business media are reporting an unsuccessful attempt to acquire control of the major Italian online sportsbetting firm Sindacato Nazionale Agenzie Ippiche SpA (SNAI) by private equity firms Bridgepoint and Axa Private Equity, who reportedly offered Euro 600 million.

The publicly listed sports and horseracing betting firm has a debt burden of Euro 275 million and recently reported a net loss of Euro 9.5 million for the year to September '09, although this was a definite improvement on the same period in 2008 when the company made a loss of Euro 20.1 million.

SNAI Servizi Srl, the parent company of the betting firm, received a binding offer from the two private equity firms for its gaming and betting activities in November that would have seen Bridgepoint acquire 75 percent of the Italian group while Axa would own the remaining 25 percent.

In addition to its online operations, the Italian giant also boasts 900 branded land outlets and over 2 500 smaller gambling stalls; SNAI racetrack operations in Milan were specifically excluded from the deal.

The two would-be purchasers revealed that their offer valued SNAI at around six times its 2009 pro forma EBITDA, and said that financing for the deal would have been forthcoming from a consortium of banks.

'The board of SNAI Servizi Srl has examined the offer from Bridgepoint and Axa and has believed the offer not in its own interest,' read a statement from SNAI.

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