With deals on both sides of the Atlantic, Allianz Group of Germany is poised to become a global player in insurance and asset management, with a substantial presence in the U.S. market.
Under the proposed $29 billion merger of Deutsche Bank and Dresdner Bank, the Munich insurance company would reduce its holdings in both German banking companies and use the proceeds to acquire Deutsche Bank's European mutual fund business, DWS, along with its life insurance unit, Deutscher Herold.
Allianz would also take a 32% stake in Bank 24, as the retail branch network of both Deutsche and Dresdner would be known upon the deal's closing, which is scheduled for the first quarter of next year. Allianz is paying about $5.7 billion for the three components, analysts said. Deutsche Bank needs to shed certain businesses to avoid antitrust concerns, according to a spokeswoman for the banking company.
In a separate deal with Deutsche Bank, the insurer would acquire a 70% stake in fund manager Finanza & Futuro in Italy, where mutual funds are becoming increasingly important.
At the same time, Allianz is just weeks away from gaining shareholder approval for its $3.3 billion acquisition of 70% of the fund company Pimco Advisors in Newport Beach, Calif. That deal would put it in partnership with Pacific Life Insurance Co., which owns the remaining stake.
Allianz would thus add $90 billion of fund assets in Germany, Luxembourg, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy.
With its proposed acquisition of $250 billion-asset Pimco, Allianz is starting to make itself known in the United States, said Geoffrey H. Bobroff, a mutual fund consultant-based in East Greenwich, R.I.
"Allianz out of nowhere could become a significant asset management player," he said.
Allianz says that once its various transactions are done, it will have about $750 billion under management. That would put it among the top five global asset managers.
Allianz says its goal is to build its three core businesses: life insurance, property and casualty insurance, and asset management.
Acquiring a stake in Bank 24 would give Allianz additional distribution for its insurance and investment products, said Richard Lips, a company spokesman. Under the merger, Bank 24 would have 1,700 branches.
Mr. Lips said Allianz's bid to gain access to branch outlets is comparable in concept to Charles Schwab & Co.'s progression. Schwab was a discount operation with a few offices at its inception in the 1970s and now has hundreds of branches.
Allianz also plans to use its acquisition of Pimco to ramp up its presence as a corporate bond manager in Europe, an area that is attracting more interest, Mr. Lips said.
But Allianz may not be done with acquisitions in the United States, said Robert Yates, an equity analyst with Fox-Pitt, Kelton in London.
Its ownership of the Fireman's Fund gives Allianz access to the U.S. property and casualty market, but no "critical mass," Mr. Yates said. Nor is another Allianz acquisition in U.S. asset management out of the question, he said.
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