Italian private equity firms Palladio and Sator Group have extended their deadline for their offer to acquire insurance group Fondiaria-SAI.
The offer, which was due to expire yesterday, will be extended until 30 April to give more time for the proposal to be considered.
The firms are facing a challenge from insurer Unipol, which is keen to push a four-way merger with Fondiaria, its parent company Premafin, and one of its subsidiaries Milano Assicurazioni.
This plan, which is backed by Fondiaria's main creditors Mediobanca and Unicredit, would require a €1.1bn capital increase for the acquired company.
Fondiaria's market value has fallen to €543m from €5bn five years ago. Last year the company made a loss of €853m. Should Premafin go for Palladio and Sator's offer, the firms predict the business will be posting profits of €420m by 2015.
Premafin claims it is not in a position to take up Palladio and Sator's offer owing to an exclusive agreement it has with Unipol, which also has the support of its creditors.