Santander AM to join Pioneer despite hurdles

Spain’s Banco Santander maintains its plans to complete the merger of its asset management arm with Pioneer Investments, a subsidiary of Italy’s UniCredit, once the transaction receives regulatory approvals.

“We have a signed agreement in place and we are waiting a number of regulatory responses for the transaction,” a spokesperson for Santander AM told InvestmentEurope.

In a document sent to Spain’s financial regulator CNMV, the Spanish bank says there are “firm commitments” for the deal with the Italian entity, according to local newspaper Expansion. In addition, Santander refers to its 2015 audit report, where it is stated the transaction will be completed this year.

Dolores Ybarra, the chief investment officer of Santander AM, said in late 2015 the deal involves complicated legal procedures, since the new company will operate in a total of 31 countries. Still, Ybarra estimated that the definitive merger was expected to close in the first half of this year.

The Financial Times reported last week that risks derived from the UK’s vote to leave the EU and Unicredit executive changes may compromise the €5.3bn deal.

The transaction has been hit by a number of complications since negotiations began, including new management at both banks and changes to the terms of the deal last year to avoid provoking US regulators.

Pioneer and Santander AM have been in talks for more than 20 months to create a European fund manager with almost €400bn in assets.

 

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