Italian online sports betting leader Snai is the subject of a tussle between two private equity-backed gaming operators aiming to take over the indebted gaming group.
Snai, currently struggling with €250m of net debt, confirmed to the Financial Times on Friday that it was the subject of a takeover approach from rival Sisal, owned by UK private equity groups Permira and Apax Partners.
Italian private equity houses Clessidra and Investindustrial are also seeking to merge Snai with fellow land-based and online operator Cogetech, owned by Investindustrial, revealed the newspaper.
Snai was close to being bought last year by a consortium consisting of the UK’s Bridgepoint and France’s Axa Private Equity, but the investment groups are suing for damages after the Italian company rejected their bid and decided instead to refinance via a bond issue.
Snai, which also has over 900 shops and 2,500 smaller gambling stalls, or corners, boasted a market share of 34.3% of Italy's online sports betting market in the first quarter of 2010, according to gambling data provider Trust Partners.
Rival Sisal, which had a 10.2% market share in the first quarter, is also in talks to obtain sports book and poker room Betting 2000, according to reports earlier this year.