Bloomberg News

Citigroup Is Said to End Talks on Sale of OneMain Lending Unit

January 09, 2012

Jan. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Citigroup Inc., the third-largest U.S. bank by assets, halted talks to sell its OneMain consumer- lending subsidiary after failing to reach agreement with potential buyers, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

Citigroup and interested buyers Centerbridge Capital Partners LLC, Leucadia National Corp. and Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., mutually agreed to end negotiations, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks are private. The New York-based bank may pursue a deal again when the credit markets that OneMain relies on for funding improve, the person said.

Citigroup Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit, 54, tagged the unit and other assets for sale and placed them in the Citi Holdings portfolio after the bank’s $45 billion bailout by taxpayers in 2008. He renamed the business OneMain in December 2010 and began an auction process last year.

“The objective of Citi Holdings is to reduce non-core assets in an economically rational manner that is in the best interests of our stakeholders,” Citigroup said in an e-mailed statement.

OneMain lends money for purposes including auto repairs and remodeling kitchens, according to its website. Founded in 1912 as Commercial Credit, it now provides service at 1,300 U.S. branches, according to the bank. Citigroup valued the company at about $2 billion, net of liabilities, people briefed on the bidding said last March.

The Wall Street Journal reported the decision to end discussions earlier.

Citigroup shares rose 1.2 percent to $28.51 in New York trading yesterday. They tumbled 44 percent last year amid a global slump for financial firms facing stricter capital rules and slowing economic growth.

--With assistance from Donal Griffin in New York. Editors: David Scheer, Russell Ward

To contact the reporter on this story: Dakin Campbell in New York at dcampbell27@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Scheer at dscheer@bloomberg.net


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