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Report: Old Mutual prepares sale of Italian wealth management unit

Old MutualPlc is readying the sale of its Italian wealth managementsubsidiary and has appointed financial advisory group Rothschild to seek outpotential buyers, Reuters reported March 31, citing "sources familiar withthe matter."

The sale of the unit, which could be valued at up to €300million, is part of the group's wider plan to split itself into four businesses. The sources saidan auction for the unit could begin by mid-May.

Milan-based Old Mutual Wealth Italy, which manages some €6billion of assets, is expected to be sold separately from the group's widerwealth management business as it operates as a stand-alone unit.

Private equity funds Cinven Ltd., andJ.C. Flowers & Co.LLC are among firms that have expressed interest in the unit, twoof the sources told Reuters.

Rothschild is understood to be overseeing the group'sbreakup plan which will lead to a series of divestments, the sources added. Aspokesman for Old Mutual said the group is in the process of a "managedseparation" which will "inevitably lead to speculation concerning itsassets," the newswire noted.