BY Richard Summerfield
Italy’s biggest bank, UniCredit SpA, has announced that it is to sell asset manager Pioneer to French fund management firm Amundi in a deal worth $3.75bn.
According to the terms of the deal, Amundi will finance the acquisition through a combination of a €1.4bn capital increase, around €600m of senior subordinated debt and about €1.5bn in existing capital. UniCredit will also receive an extraordinary dividend of €315m from Pioneer before the deal is completed. The dividend will take the total value of the transaction to around $4.10bn. The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2017.
"Thanks to a long term distribution agreement, UniCredit's customers will have access to an extended range of quality products and services whilst the Group will reap the benefit of additional fee income from expected increased sales," UniCredit chief executive Jean Pierre Mustier said in a statement. "The transaction means Italy becomes Amundi's second largest domestic market and Amundi will turn Milan into one of its core investment hubs, creating new jobs and ensuring close proximity to UniCredit, our teams and clients."
The sale of the Amundi unit is the latest in a series of moves by UniCredit to divest some of its holdings, and to shore up its balance sheet. In July, the company agreed to sell its 32.8 percent stake in Pekao bank in Poland to state-owned insurance group PZU for around $2.6bn. UniCredit also sold a 30 percent stake in FinecoBank SpA in October for around £2bn.
UniCredit, under the leadership of the new chief executive Jean Pierre Mustier, is expected to launch a new share sale this week, with the hope of raising around €13bn. UniCredit’s recent financial difficulties are allegorical of the wider Italian banking sector, which has been experiencing considerable difficulty for some time.
Through the acquisition of Pioneer, which manages around £186bn worth of assets, Amundi expects to generate around €150m in full-year cost synergies within three years as it merges investment platforms and streamlines support functions. The company also expects the acquisition to boost its revenue by €30m.