(Bloomberg) -- Struggling Italian football club Unione Calcio Sampdoria SpA is searching for new financial backers after some prospective investors cooled on the deal.
Sampdoria’s owners, Andrea Radrizzani’s Aser Ventures and Gestio Capital, are pressing ahead with the search after talks with parties including Qatari Sports Investments — which controls top French football team Paris Saint-Germain — and the Reuben Brothers failed to result in an offer, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private.
Aser and Gestio have been looking to raise more capital from third parties ever since agreeing to provide Sampdoria with €40 million ($43.7 million) to weather its current financial difficulties, the people said. Qatar Sports Investment was initially interested and carried out due diligence, but opted against financing the club for now, the people added.
Representatives for Sampdoria and Aser didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson for Gestio couldn’t be reached for comment, while Qatari Sports Investments and the Reuben brothers declined to comment.
Sampdoria was formed in 1946 by a merger of two clubs and has roots in Italian football that stretch back to the 1890s. While it thrived in the 1990s, winning top-flight Serie A competition and the European Cup Winners’ Cup, its finances have suffered in recent years.
Adding to its balance sheet troubles, in June the club was relegated to Italy’s second division for the first time in 11 years. The club is currently ranked 15th in Italy’s Serie B.
Radrizzani eyed the Italian side while he was selling his majority stake in Leeds United to fellow owner 49ers Enterprises LLC.
Alongside its ownership of Paris Saint Germain, Qatar Sports Investments has a minority stake in Portuguese club SC Braga. Meanwhile, the billionaire Reuben brothers are part of a consortium, alongside Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, owning Newcastle United.
Following the takeover by Aser and Gestio, Sampdoria has also struck a deal with the majority of its creditors on a €175 million debt overhaul. This entailed the extension of loans from banks and guaranteed by Italy’s credit insurance agency SACE SpA through to 2043, as earlier reported by Bloomberg. The club’s other creditors, including player agents, suppliers and the Italian Revenue Agency, face a partial debt write-off.
Genoa’s tribunal approved Sampdoria’s court restructuring last month, the last formal step needed for Sampdoria to overhaul its debt structure and focus on recovering on and off the field.
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