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 valuation levels attributed to it in the Italian newspaper Il Messaggero — other media 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.
The French asset manager 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 the 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.