Italy Government Clears ION’s Prelios Deal With Conditions

Italy will allow ION Group’s acquisition of asset manager Prelios SpA to go ahead with some conditions, according to people familiar with the matter.

Bloomberg
Published12 Mar 2024, 01:45 AM IST
Italy Government Clears ION’s Prelios Deal With Conditions
Italy Government Clears ION’s Prelios Deal With Conditions

(Bloomberg) -- Italy will allow ION Group’s acquisition of asset manager Prelios SpA to go ahead with some conditions, according to people familiar with the matter.

Following an in-depth review, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s cabinet decided Monday not to use its veto powers on the €1.35 billion ($1.48 billion) acquisition provided ION keeps the government updated on its merger and financing plans, the people said.

A spokesperson for the government and a spokesman for ION declined to comment.

Rome has imposed conditions including that ION submit a signed document when shares are used as collateral; that it notify the government when relevant documents are available; and that it agree on a set of data safeguards, according to the people. 

The government considered using its so-called Golden Power provision — which allows it to block or impose strong conditions on deals involving strategic assets — as part of its broader focus on the activities in the country of Andrea Pignataro’s ION, Bloomberg reported in December. The transaction would still require an approval from Italy’s central bank.

A requirement that ION submit a new request for deal approval after lining up financing was one of Rome’s initial conditions — though that was strongly opposed by the company, which claimed it could scupper the deal, Bloomberg reported in January. 

ION and the government subsequently found ways around the stalemate, one of the people said. Reuters reported earlier Monday on the compromise.

Still, a decision by the government to greenlight the acquisition would not represent the final hurdle, as the takeover also requires approval by the Bank of Italy, which is carrying out its own review. 

Pignataro’s planned takeover of Prelios has attracted heightened scrutiny from authorities due to the central role ION has carved out for itself in the country’s financial industry. 

The Bank of Italy, which has supervisory authority over Prelios, is looking into the group’s balance sheet and its complex structure as part of the approval process, people familiar with the matter said in February.

ION, a global financial services conglomerate founded by Pignataro, has made a string of investments in Italy including the acquisition of financial services company Cerved Group SpA and the purchase of a stake in Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA. 

Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News, competes with ION in providing financial software and data. 

Meloni’s government has put its stamp on several deals, in businesses ranging from telecommunications, to banking, to energy. Rome has used Golden Power to set conditions on deals involving companies including tiremaker Pirelli SpA and defense company Safran SA.

(Updates with conditions in fourth paragraph.)

More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.

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First Published:12 Mar 2024, 01:45 AM IST
HomeNewsItaly Government Clears ION’s Prelios Deal With Conditions

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