French asset manager Amundi to buy Pioneer Investments from UniCredit for $3.8 bn

French asset manager Amundi SA yesterday struck a deal to buy Pioneer Investments from Italian bank UniCredit SpA for €3.545 billion ($3.8 billion) in cash, in order to expand its footprint in Europe.

Amundi, a subsidiary jointly created by Crédit Agricole and Société Générale, will pay UniCredit €3.55 billion in cash and a special dividend of €315 million before the transaction expected to close in the first half of 2017.

Commenting on the acquisition, Xavier Musca, chairman of Amundi, said ''This acquisition is fully in line with the selective acquisition strategy announced at the time of the IPO: Pioneer Investments will reinforce Amundi's product expertise, broaden its distribution channels and networks, and generate significant synergies. It confirms Amundi's position as a clear European leader in asset management, in terms of size and profitability."

Yves Perrier, CEO of Amundi, said, ''The acquisition of Pioneer Investments is a major step to anchor Amundi as the European leader in asset management. Pioneer Investments is a world class asset manager that has a highly complementary business and geographic profile.''

The deal will create the 8th largest asset manager globally with €1.276 billion of assets under management, and will allow Amundi to strengthen its leadership in key European markets.

The combined company will be number 1 in France, in a top 3 position in Italy and in Austria, and in a strong position in Germany. Italy will become Amundi's second domestic market with €160 billion under management, and Milan will become one of the group's investment hubs.

The deal will also bolster its leadership in serving retail networks and improve its customer mix by increasing the weight of higher-margin retail customers from 27 per cent currently to 35 per cent post transaction, Amundi said in a statement.

UniCredit and Amundi have agreed to form a 10-year partnership to distribute their asset-management products in Italy, Germany and Austria.

The sale is the latest asset sales made by UniCredit in order to raise its common equity Tier 1 ratio with fully applied Basel 3 rules.

It sold a 30 per cent stake in FinecoBank SpA and 10 per cent in Bank Pekao SA.