Big banks in talks to create European fund management powerhouse

Lanes Merge Road Sign

Italian bank UniCredit SpA and Spain's Santander are in talks to merge their fund management businesses and create a European powerhouse overseeing some £275.26 billion pounds of assets.

Reuters reports that under the proposed deal, Santander Asset Management will combine with UniCredit's Pioneer unit, with both banks owning about a third each of the new company, UniCredit CEO Federico Ghizzoni told reporters on Tuesday.

Private equity funds Warburg Pincus and General Atlantic, which are already partners in Santander Asset Management, will together take the remaining third of the merged entity, before exiting the venture in a few years when it will likely be listed on the stock market, Ghizzoni said.

He gave no financial details about the planned tie-up, only saying Santander had offered a 'better price' than the two other bidders for Pioneer - a consortium comprising private equity fund CVC Capital Partners with Singapore sovereign fund GIC, and U.S. fund Advent.

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UniCredit, Santander in talks to merge asset management units

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