Poste Italiane Courts UniCredit's $3.2 Billion Pioneer Asset Manager

Restructuring Italian lender UniCredit continues to draw bidders for its Pioneer Global Asset Management unit despite potential market upheaval from Italy's looming constitutional referendum.

The latest suitor to emerge is Poste Italiane, the postal service company, which announced on Thursday that it will make a bid with asset manager Anima Holding and state-backed lender Cassa dei depositi e prestiti.

Poste Italiane already has its own asset manager, BancoPosta Fondi, and a 10.3% stake in Anima. But it said Thursday it is turning the manager over to Anima in return for a bigger equity stake of up to 24.9%.

The BancoPosta and Anima duo will have assets of around €147 billion ($159.9 billion), while Pioneer has close to €249 billion of assets under management.

UniCredit confirmed Friday it has received offers for Pioneer but did not provide details.

A final agreement is seen as unlikely before an Italian referendum on constitutional changes on Dec. 4, which is being seen as a vote on the economic reforms of the government of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

Pioneer's global and product diversification gives it a good chance of weathering fallout from any subsequent upheaval. Around half of its assets are in bonds, and about a fifth are in equity markets. It also has a substantial presence in alternative assets.

Global bond fund manager Pimco, which is owned by Allianz SE, reported on Friday its first net inflow into its funds for three years during the third quarter. However, the recent election of Donald Trump as America's 45th president has prompted a bond selloff that has hit southern European debt particularly hard.

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