UPDATE 1-China's ICBC considers bid for Unicredit's Pioneer fund arm-source
(Adds Pioneer's background, comments from industry)
By Nishant Kumar
HONG KONG, April 2 (Reuters) - Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd (ICBC) is considering a bid for Pioneer Investments, one of Europe's biggest money managers, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Pioneer, owned by Italy's biggest bank by assets Unicredit , managed 174 billion euros ($240 billion) as of the end of last year.
British newspaper The Sunday Times previously reported that ICBC could pay as much as 2 billion euros ($2.76 billion) for Pioneer. Such as deal would mark the biggest-ever acquisition of a Western money manager by an Asian company.
There is more urgency for Chinese banks to accelerate global growth in response to a slowing market at home and as the country's leadership change precipitates more financial sector reforms, further pressuring margins.
The global ambitions also come at a time when European banks are retreating from the asset management business in a bid to repair crisis-battered balance sheets.
"It would be a very significant development because it clearly would make a big difference to their (ICBC) credentials," said Stewart Aldcroft, a senior advisor in Asia Pacific for Citi Securities and Fund Services.
Media reports have indicated that Unicredit plans to list or sell Pioneer, which operates in 27 countries including India and Singapore. The bank declined to comment on those reports earlier this month. Continuación...