UniCredit (UNCFF) shares rose briefly in Milan Monday after Italy's largest bank confirmed it is in talks to sell its Pioneer Asset Management business to France's Amundi.
Confirmation of the talks came amid the fallout from Sunday's referendum that saw Italy's electorate reject constitutional reforms put forward by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, - prompting his resignation and casting a shadow of uncertainty across the Mediterranean nation's political landscape.
UniCredit stock, which had turned positive to change hands at €2.06 each in the opening hour of trading, fell 3.1% by 10:00 GMT.
The sale process follows a strategic review completed by new CEO Jean-Pierre Mustier, the results of which are due to be fully unveiled at a capital markets day in London on Dec. 13.
Amundi confirmed that it was a bidder back in October when it shot down speculation that it had tabled a near €4 billion ($4.2 billion) bid for the asset, indicating that such a price would make it difficult to achieve an adequate return and saying that it would be disciplined in its approach to valuation.
Since then it has seen off competition that was reported to include a consortium led by Italy's Post Italiane, as well as separate bids from Macquarie Group (MQBKY) and Ameriprise Financial .
With more than €249 billion of assets, the acquisition of Pioneer would add around 25% to Amundi's own assets under management and nearly double its position in what it calls 'real and alternative assets', which has been a key strategic goal for the Paris-based investment manager.
The sale value of Pioneer has been tipped as likely to be in the region of €3.5 billion, although it is unclear how the outcome of Sunday's referendum will affect the eventual ticket price.
Sunday's rejection of constitutional reforms risks slowing the pace of economic recovery in the Mediterranean nation, given uncertainty over the shape of its future government and that momentum is now against those who would seek to make further economic and structural reforms easier to push onto the statute book
The proposed changes were designed to support the reform process by tipping the balance of legislative power in favor Italy's lower house of parliament, over the senate.
Under the plan, the number of senators would have fallen from more than 300 to just 100 and those that sat within the senate would no longer have been directly elected.
This is while the government would only have needed to secure the backing of the lower house of parliament, the Chamber of Deputies, in order to push laws onto the statute book.