UniCredit opens Pioneer data room to four bidders: sources

Unicredit bank logo is seen on a banner downtown Milan, Italy, May 23, 2016. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

MILAN (Reuters) - Italian bank UniCredit CRDI.MI has selected four possible buyers of its Pioneer asset manager granting them access to the unit's financial data ahead of a sale later this year, two source close to the matter said on Friday.

The sources identified three of the four bidders as France's Amundi AMUN.PA, Europe's biggest asset gatherer, a consortium led by Poste Italiane PST.MI and top Italian player Assicurazioni Generali GASI.MI.

One of the sources said the fourth suitor was expected to be French insurer AXA AXAF.PA.

The sale of Pioneer is part of a broader effort by UniCredit to improve its capital ratios with analysts estimating it could need to raise as much as 8 billion euros through asset sales and an expected share issue.

The Italian bank aims to net around 3 billion euros ($3.4 billion) from the sale of Pioneer, sources have said.

“Amundi’s offer is quite high,” one of the sources said, adding however that this could change after the due diligence process.

Binding offers are due by the end of October. UniCredit, which is advised by JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley, hopes to clinch a deal before presenting a strategic plan due by the end of the year.

Amundi, AXA, Assicurazioni Generali and UniCredit declined to comment. Poste Italiane was not immediately available to comment.

Additional reporting by Maya Nikolaeva in Paris, editing by Valentina Za