China's ICBC considers bid for Unicredit's Pioneer fund arm-source

Reuters

By Nishant Kumar

HONG KONG, April 2 (Reuters) - Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd (ICBC) is considering a bid for Pioneer Investments, one of Europe's biggest money managers, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Pioneer, owned by Italy's biggest bank by assets Unicredit , managed 174 billion euros ($240 billion) at the end of last year.

Media reports have indicated that the bank plans to list or sell Pioneer. The bank declined to comment on those reports earlier this month.

The bank declined to comment on ICBC's interest. In an emailed statement, an ICBC spokesman denied that it was in talks with Pioneer.

ICBC, the world's largest bank by market value, has not made a formal offer but has communicated its interest to the asset manager, the person said, declining to be identified.

British newspaper The Sunday Times previously reported that ICBC could pay as much as 2 billion euros ($2.76 billion) for Pioneer, putting the money manager's valuation at 1.15 percent of its asset under management.

($1 = 0.7249 Euros) (Reporting by Nishant Kumar, additional reporting by Stephen Jewkes in MILAN; Editing by Michael Flaherty and Ryan Woo)

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