UniCredit sells Pioneer to Amundi for more than $4.2 billion: source

Sun Dec 11, 2016 4:56pm EST
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By Paola Arosio

MILAN (Reuters) - Italy's biggest bank by assets UniCredit (CRDI.MI: Quote) has reached a deal to sell its asset manager Pioneer to France's Amundi for more than 4 billion euros ($4.2 billion), a source with knowledge of the matter said on Sunday.

The deal, which the source said involves a special dividend of about 500 million euros to be paid to UniCredit, is one of various disposals being pursued by newly-appointed Chief Executive Jean-Pierre Mustier to boost capital levels at the Italian lender, slim it down and make it easier to manage.

The Pioneer sale comes as UniCredit is set to announce on Tuesday a share issue worth up to 13 billion euros in what would be a major test of confidence in Italy's wider banking system.

A statement confirming the Pioneer deal is expected on Monday, sources said.

Amundi in Italy and UniCredit declined to comment.

UniCredit, which operates in 17 countries and is the only Italian bank whose health is deemed important to the stability of the global financial system, needs to strengthen its balance sheet to meet tough new regulations designed for such lenders.

Only on Thursday, UniCredit announced deals to sell a 33 percent stake in Polish lender Pekao, raising more than 2.5 billion euros, while in October it sold 20 percent of its online broker FinecoBank for about 550 million euros.

Amundi, which was advised by Mediobanca on the Pioneer deal, has been in exclusive talks with UniCredit after beating rival bids presented by a consortium led by Italy's Poste Italiane (PST.MI: Quote) and another one by Ameriprise Financial (AMP.N: Quote).   Continued...

The headquarters of UniCredit bank in Milan, Italy, February 8, 2016. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini