UniCredit Is Said to Pair With CNP in Italian Insurance Business

French insurer CNP Assurances has agreed to buy a majority stake in an Italian life-insurance partnership with UniCredit SpA, people with knowledge of the matter said.

CNP will take over Aviva Plc’s 51% holding in the joint venture with UniCredit for about 385 million euros ($463 million), the people said, asking to not be named because the process isn’t public. The accord is part of Aviva’s plan to exit the Italian business, said the people.

The U.K. insurer is also selling a separate Italian life business to CNP for 160 million euros and its non-life Italian business to Allianz SE, the people said.

The transactions are close to a finalization and may be announced as soon as this week, they said. Representatives for CNP, UniCredit and Aviva declined to comment on the decision.

Unicredit, Italy’s biggest lender by assets, has been seeking a new partner to provide insurance products sold through its retail bank branches. Bancassurance deals provide insurers a greater reach than they would have on their own. It’s also a boon for the banks, who usually receive an upfront payment as well as commissions on product sales.

The sale is part of Aviva Chief Executive Officer Amanda Blanc’s plan to improve the London-listed insurer’s struggling share price by offloading non-core assets. Mergers and acquisitions in the European insurance industry are being driven by companies looking to bulk up their property and casualty businesses while selling interest-rate dependent life units.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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