Amundi, Generali Said Likely Bidders for UniCredit Asset Unit

  • UniCredit is weighing sale of Pioneer Global to raise capital
  • Potential buyers face Sept. 19 deadline for non-binding offers

UniCredit SpA will probably draw preliminary offers from several companies including Amundi SA, Assicurazioni Generali SpA and Poste Italiane SpA as it weighs a sale of Pioneer Global Asset Management SpA to raise capital, people with knowledge of the discussions said.

UniCredit Chief Executive Officer Jean-Pierre Mustier, the Frenchman who took over at Italy’s biggest lender in July, is exploring options for Pioneer after abandoning talks with Banco Santander SA earlier this year to combine their asset-management arms. The two banks failed to “identify viable solutions” to meet regulatory requirements, UniCredit said at the time.

The Italian bank values Pioneer at about 3 billion euros ($3.37 billion), according to two people who asked not to be identified as the matter is private. Amundi, Generali and Poste are among a dozen companies that have shown an interest and are discussing the matter with UniCredit ahead of a Sept. 19 deadline for non-binding bids, the people said. Spokespeople at UniCredit, Amundi, Generali and Poste declined to comment.

Several media reports over the past week have cited the three companies among potential bidders for Pioneer. The unit manages about 220 billion euros of assets and employs more than 2,000 people across 28 countries.

Amundi, the asset manager owned by Credit Agricole SA, is “in a strong position to acquire Pioneer,” Arnaud Giblat, an analyst at Exane BNP Paribas in London who recommends buying the stock, wrote in a note last week. “We see a good chance of a large transaction.”

Amundi’s 2015 initial public offering came with targets for internal growth while also setting out plans to play a “key role” in consolidation of the sector, especially in Europe and Asia. The French company had about 1.5 billion euros of free capital at the end of last year that “may be used to finance acquisitions” or pay dividends to shareholders, according to its annual report.

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