Pioneer sold to Amundi for £3bn amid Le Saout resignation

Pioneer sold to Amundi for £3bn amid Le Saout resignation

Italian asset manager Pioneer Investments has been sold to French outfit Amundi in a €3.5bn (£3bn) creating the globe's eight largest fund house with €1.3trn in assets under management.

The all cash deal announced today (December 12) will see Amundi take on the firm from current owner UniCredit, a move that boosts the French asset manager's retail presence across the continent.

It comes after Pioneer announced on Saturday (December 10) that former head of European fixed income Tanguy Le Saout had left the firm with immediate effect.

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Last week, Mr Le Saout and head of of portfolio construction Ali Chabaane were caught trying to set up a rival asset manager amid the firm's sale process.

The pair, based in Dublin, were initially suspended pending investigation by Pioneer but resigned over the weekend.

Additionally, the duo will consent to orders from the Dublin High Court to "redress any advantage" they gathered while trying to set up a rival asset manager.

Pioneer chief executive Giordano Lombardo said: "We have taken decisive action in this instance in order to protect our commercial best interests and have ensured that no client assets were adversely affected and no compliance breaches took place.”

Head of European government bonds Cosimo Marasciulo has taken over Mr Le Saout's role as head of European fixed income.

Last week, Morningstar said it had placed five Pioneer funds under review following Mr Le Saout's suspension, two directly managed by him and three others under his team's supervision.

The resignations draw a quick end to the saga at the firm, which should now complete its transition to Amundi by the June 2017.

Pioneer's sale saga has been on-going for several months after a proposed deal with Santander Asset Management fell through earlier in 2016. Aberdeen Asset Management had also attempted a purchase but were put off by UniCredit's asking price.

Amundi chief executive Yves Perrier said: "This acquisition will reinforce Amundi’s industrial model and will benefit our clients whilst creating significant value for our shareholders. Pioneer Investments is a world class asset manager that has a highly complementary business and geographic profile."