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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Will Pioneer's Parent Take Control of Another Multinational?

News summary by MFWire's editors

Leadership at a publicly traded, multinational, French asset manager is looking at a merger that would involve taking majority control over another European multinational's publicly traded asset management arm.

Yves Perrier
Amundi (parent of Amundi Pioneer Asset Management here in the U.S.) might merge with Deutsche Bank's DWS, if Amundi can take control post-merger, an unnamed source tells Reuters. Amundi (publicly traded but controlled by a big French bank, Credit Agricole) has 1.48 trillion euros ($1.65 trillion) in AUM, while DWS has 703 billion euros ($784.98 billion), so such a merger would create a multinational asset manager with more than $2.4 trillion in AUM.

"Amundi would not necessarily buy all [of DWS] and would be ready to leave a stake of DWS listed on the stock market, but there is no point in being a minority," Reuters' unnamed sources says.

Yet the wire service wonders if a DWS deal is less pressing for Deutsche Bank now that the proposed Commerzbank merger (which proceeds from the DWS deal might have helped finance) has fallen apart. And as of a week ago a different DWS deal, which would've combined it with UBS' asset management arm, reportedly fell apart; word is that Deutsche and UBS couldn't agree over who would have a majority stake after the merger, making one wonder if Deutsche would be willing to hand over majority DWS control to Amundi, either. Meanwhile, Deutsche CEO Christian Sewing insisted, as recently as the German bank's Q1 earnings call last month, that he sees DWS as a "core part" of Deutsche's "strategy going forward." (Though DWS IPOed in March 2018, Deutsche still owns 70 percent of the asset manager, and a Japanese insurer also bought a five-percent stake in DWS.)

As for Amundi, CEO Yves Perrier specifically opened the door to "bolt-on acquisitions," so long as they boost Amundi in particular ways: product expertise (real assets, passive, and ETFs, especially); distribution channel breadth; and geographic reach (especially in Asia and Europe). DWS does have a sizable ETF business, and 78 percent of its AUM comes from Europe, though its presence in Asia is small, representing only five percent of its AUM. 

Edited by: Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

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