Italy’s UniCredit and Spain’s Santander have started talks to merge their fund management businesses and create a European house managing some €350bn.
In a press conference on 23 September, UniCredit’s CEO Federico Ghizzoni said that under the proposed deal Santander AM will merge with UniCredit’s Pioneer unit, with both banks owning a third of the new company.
The remaining third will be taken by private equity funds Warburg Pincus and General Atlantic, which are already partners in Santander Asset Management, Ghizzoni told reporters.
Ghizzoni also said that Santander ranked first among bidders for Pioneer, mainly against consortium comprising private equity fund CVC Capital Partners; Singapore sovereign fund GIC, and US fund Advent.
UniCredit had considered the sale of Pioneer in 2011 but dropped the idea after failing to conclude a deal with Eurizon, the fund management arm of domestic competitor Intesa Sanpaolo.