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MILAN/LONDON, May 24 (Reuters) - A long-delayed deal between UniCredit and Santander to merge their fund management businesses has been put on hold, as the Italian bank gears up for a new CEO before reviewing options on the fate of its Pioneer unit, four sources with knowledge of the matter said.
UniCredit and Santander announced an agreement in April 2015 to merge Pioneer with Santander Asset management, six months after saying they were in talks to combine the two businesses.
But the deal stalled over regulatory and governance hurdles and is now likely to be ditched altogether given the imminent departure of UniCredit's CEO Federico Ghizzoni, who is expected to resign at a board meeting on Tuesday, two sources said.
"The sale is currently frozen. (UniCredit's) new management will review the deal," said one of the sources.
"There are high chances that the Santander deal will be called off," the source said, adding there was a "queue" of alternative buyers for Pioneer.
Reporting by Paola Arosio, Pamela Barbaglia, Gianluca Semeraro, writing by Silvia Aloisi