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MILAN (Reuters) - Anima Holding (ANIM.MI) is studying a possible merger with rival Aletti Gestielle as part of a broader growth plan, the Italian asset manager said on Monday, confirming a press report.
By 1056 GMT shares in Anima were up 5.3 percent, lifted by a report in Sunday's Il Sole 24 Ore about plans by Anima's top shareholders Poste Italiane (PST.MI) and Banco BPM (BAMI.MI) to expand the asset manager's business.
A tie-up with Aletti Gestielle, which is also part of the Banco BPM banking group, would be the first step, the paper said.
"Preliminary discussions are ongoing to verify the feasibility of such an option," Anima said in a statement issued at the behest of Italian market authorities.
Il Sole 24 Ore said Italy's post office Poste would then also merge its BancoPosta Fondi asset manager into Anima to help it compete with sector heavyweights Assicurazioni Generali (GASI.MI), Intesa Sanpaolo (ISP.MI) and Pioneer Investments.
Poste holds 10.3 percent of Anima, according to market watchdog Consob, while Banco BPM has a near 15 percent stake.
Reporting by Valentina Za, editing by Louise Heavens