MILAN (Reuters) – UniCredit <CRDI.MI> and Societe Generale <SOGN.PA> declined to comment on a report that Italy’s biggest bank was working with a senior Rothschild banker to advise it on a possible merger with the French lender.
Rothschild were not immediately available for comment.
Italian daily MF said in an unsourced report on Friday that talks between the two banks over a tie-up or acquisition were continuing.
It added that UniCredit was working with top-flight consultants, including Rothschild’s Daniel Bouton.
Bouton was a former chairman of Societe Generale, resigning in 2009 after a decade at the head of the French bank in the aftermath of a rogue trading scandal the previous year.
UniCredit’s Chief Executive Jean Pierre Mustier is also a former manager at Societe Generale and his appointment to the position in 2016 rekindled speculation about the two joining forces.
In June, the FT reported that UniCredit was considering merging with its French rival, adding that Italy’s volatile political situation had pushed back the timetable for a deal.
When asked earlier in August about potential acquisitions, Mustier said the bank’s plan up to 2019 was based on organic growth but said the next plan could also consider external growth.
“Europe needs strong pan-European banks and we intend to be a pan-European winner,” he said.
At 1126 GMT UniCredit shares were up 1 percent, while the European banking index <.SX7P> was up 0.5 percent.
(Reporting by Paola Arosio and Stephen Jewkes; Additional reporting by Inti Landauro and Clara Denina; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)