PARIS French asset manager Amundi (AMUN.PA) on Wednesday confirmed its interest in Italian bank UniCredit's (CRDI.MI) asset management arm Pioneer Investments, a business that has also attracted the attention of other bidders.
However, in a statement, the company said it denied the 4 billion euro ($4.39 billion) Pioneer valuation levels attributed to it in media reports.
"Amundi re-iterates that its acquisition policy adheres to strict financial criteria, in particular, a return on investment greater than 10 percent over a three-year horizon," it said.
Earlier this week a source close to the matter said Italy's Poste Italiane (PST.MI) was in talks with a group of banks to raise up to 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion) in financing to support its own offer for Pioneer.
Italy's post office last month submitted a preliminary offer for Pioneer together with state lender Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP) and asset manager Anima Holding (ANIM.MI). UniCredit is selling assets to shore up its capital.
Aside from Amundi, the Poste-led consortium is also competing with Australia's Macquarie (MQG.AX) and British group Aberdeen Asset Management, sources have said. Sources told Reuters Amundi is leading the race with a higher-than-expected 4 billion euro offer.
(Reporting by Andrew Callus; editing by Agnieszka Flak)