October 3, 2016 / 3:07 PM / a year ago

UniCredit to wait until after referendum to choose Pioneer buyer - sources

MILAN, Oct 3 (Reuters) - Italian bank UniCredit will choose the buyer of its Pioneer asset manager after a referendum on Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's flagship constitutional reform on Dec. 4, three sources close to the matter said on Monday.

The sale of the asset gatherer is part of a broader effort by Italy's biggest bank to improve its capital ratios. Led by its new CEO Jean-Pierre Mustier, the bank is due to unveil a new strategic plan on Dec. 13.

Last week sources have said that the lender may need to raise as much as 16 billion euros ($18 billion) through asset sales and a planned share issue.

The disposal of Pioneer could add around 3 billion euros to the bank's coffers, sources have said.

"Everything is pushed back till after the referendum," one of the sources said.

The fate of the Italian government likely hinges on the outcome of the referendum, and political instability in case of a 'No' vote could overshadow UniCredit's fundraising efforts.

UniCredit declined to comment.

The lender has granted four bidders access to Pioneer's data room, two sources said last week, citing France's Amundi , Europe's biggest asset gatherer, a consortium led by Poste Italiane, and top Italian player Assicurazioni Generali among the suitors.

$1 = 0.8916 euros Reporting by Paola Arosio and Gianluca Semeraro; writing by Francesca Landini; editing by Agnieszka Flak

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