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Hellman & Friedman In Talks for Fideuram Stake

MILAN (Reuters) – Intesa Sanpaolo SpA (ISP.MI) is in preliminary talks with U.S. private equity fund Hellman & Friedman on taking a stake in its Banca Fideuram asset manager, the Italian bank said on Tuesday.

The talks are for Hellman & Friedman to take a minority holding in Fideuram, Italy’s biggest asset manager, when it is listed, Intesa Sanpaolo said in a statement.

The bank, Italy’s biggest retail lender, said discussions were at “a very preliminary stage (and) aimed at examining a possible interest” from Hellman & Friedman.

Il Messaggero newspaper had reported the U.S. fund could take a stake of 5 percent to 15 percent. It cited no sources.

Analysts have valued Fideuram at about 3 billion euros ($3.8 billion). Intesa Sanpaolo decided to list it in February to help boost its capital and a board member said then a listing could take place around June.

If all of the company’s shares were listed at the 3 billion euro valuation, the initial public offering could be the biggest in Italy since oil refiner Saras SpA (SRS.MI) made its market debut in May 2006 with a valuation of 5.2 billion euros.

Hellman & Friedman’s financial investments include stakes in Nasdaq and in insurer Arch Capital Group Ltd (ACGL.O), according to its website. (

Shares in Intesa Sanpaolo were off 4.4 percent at 2.2975 euros at 1039 GMT. The STOXX Europe 600 banking index .SX7P was down 3.4 percent. (Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by David Holmes) ($1=.7872 Euro