The Pioneer Deal Faces a New Wrinkle
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Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Pioneer Deal Faces a New Wrinkle

After 20 months and counting, the great asset management deal that will decide Pioneer Investments' [profile] fate just hit another bump. And this time, it's the fault of the British public.

Attracta Mooney, Arash Massoudi, and Chris Newlands of the Financial Times report that, in the wake of the Brexit vote last month, UniCredit (Pioneer's parent) and Banco Santander are "scrambling to save" their complicated plan to merge their multinational asset management businesses. [See MFWire's living timeline of the Pioneer auction for more details and history.]

Santander Asset Management is based in London, and one unnamed sourced tells the FT that Brexit could shake up the deal if it means that British asset managers will be restricted in selling their wares into the EU.

Meanwhile, UniCredit's board just approved a strategic review led by new CEO Jean Pierre Mustier, and that review specifically opens the door to "any incremental value creating opportunities, potentially also via disposals": so it sounds like divestment is broadly on the table at UniCredit. Indeed, Mustier states that "the strategic review will be wide ranging."

UniCredit and Santander first unveiled their asset management partnership deal in April 2015. The U.S. arm of Pioneer would become owned by a new holding company, called Pioneer investments, with private equity giants General Atlantic and Warburg Pincus owning half of the holding company and UniCredit hanging on to the other half, while Santander would stay out of the U.S. Meanwhile, the Santander asset management business and the non-U.S. part of Pioneer would combine into a new global asset manager, two-thirds owned by the same new Pioneer Investments holding company and one-third owned by Santander.

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