Italian Gamer Snai To Examine PE Offer

MILAN (Reuters) – The board of Italian gaming to ticketing company Snai SpA (SNAI.MI) deepened its consideration of an offer from two private equity firms on Tuesday by asking its chairman Maurizio Ughi to examine it.

Last week, Snai received a binding offer from Bridgepoint Capital Ltd and Axa Investment Managers (AXAF.PA) for Snai’s gaming and betting activities.

“The board has limited itself to considering the fairness of and seriousness of the offer. In the near future it will deepen its discussion,” Ughi said in an interview in Il Giornale newspaper on Tuesday.

A Snai spokesman said he could not give a timetable for Ughi’s considerations.

Italy’s gaming industry has proved resistant to the recession, with overall bets up 13 percent in the first 10 months of the year.

In an unsourced report, Il Giornale said the private equity offer values Snai’s sports and horserace betting operations at between 600 million euros ($902.2 million) and 650 million.

Snai’s market capitalisation is about 348 million euros and it had some 275 million euros of net debt at Sept. 30.

In Tuesday’s statement, Snai also said it approved a 2010-2013 business plan aimed at increasing earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation to 170 million euros in 2013 from 125 million in 2010.

In 2008, Snai’s EBITDA was 82 million euros.

Snai shares opened up 2 percent at 3.02 euros at 1000 GMT. (Writing by Nigel Tutt; Editing by David Holmes) ($1=.6650 Euro)