French asset manager Amundi has confirmed its interest in acquiring Italian bank Unicredit’s asset management unit Pioneer Investments, but it has denied the €4bn valuation reported by Italian media.
In a statement, Amundi said its interest is “consistent with the growth strategy presented at the time of its IPO”, as it denied the Pioneer €4bn valuation levels attributed to it in the Italian newspaper Il Messaggero. Other media outlets had previously reported a rumoured €3bn valuation.
“Amundi re-iterates that its acquisition policy adheres to strict financial criteria, in particular, a return on investment greater than 10% over a three-year horizon,” the asset manager said in its statement.
Amundi has been cited in the press as being a front runner in the sale process of Pioneer. Other companies vying for Unicredit’s asset management unit are an Italian consortium led by Poste Italiane, Australia’s Macquarie and Aberdeen Asset Management.
A well-place source told InvestmentEurope last week the Italian consortium has submitted a non-binding bid for the Pioneer’s auction. Macquarie declined to comment on the reportedly takeover bid, and Aberdeen did not reply following a request for comment.
According to a Numis note to investors, Aberdeen would need to raise material new capital for the takeover, something that is not expected in the short-term. However, Aberdeen is a “serial deal-making” company, so nothing can be ruled out, Numis analyst David McCann said.
The decision on the final buyer is not likely to be made before the Italian referendum on 4 December, according to Reuters.