Citigroup’s Mexican Customer Banking Unit Attracts Multiple Potential Bidders

CEO says Citi is in 'active dialogue' to sell consumer business in Russia

Analysts have estimated that the bank’s price tag, which Citi bought for $12.5 billion in 2001, could stand between $4 billion and $8 billion.

Citigroup’s Mexican consumer banking arm Citibanamex has begun to share data to banks and different parties keen in bidding for the nation’s No. 3 consumer lender, Citi chiefs said the month before. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has swore to “Mexicanize” the unit, drifting names of Mexican tycoons and bank proprietors, however he has no immediate command over the cycle. Citigroup has said nationality won’t be the game changer in the transaction. Manuel Romo, Chief Executive Officer of Citibanamex, declined to uncover the names of the gatherings that already approached the bank during a call with analysts on Friday, but many institutions have expressed their interest publicly.

POTENTIAL BIDDERS

Spain’s Banco Santander has opened the door to a potential bid but an executive said on Friday that it would only proceed after an analysis of whether that was the best way to boost its exposure to Mexico.

Mexican bank Grupo Financiero Inbursa is seeking to arrange a bid for Citibanamex alongside local investors but the asking price will play a key role in how far it goes, an executive said last week.

Grupo Financiero Banorte’s Chief Executive Marcos Ramirez Miguel last week said it was analyzing a potential bid but would seek approval from its board and shareholders before proceeding.

Billionaire Ricardo Salinas, who already controls Mexico’s Banco Azteca, said in January he was studying a potential bid. A spokesperson for Salinas said on Friday there was no new information it could share about such an offer.

Javier Garza, a Mexican entrepreneur close to the president, said in February that he had begun hiring financial advisers and law firms to prepare a bid with a group of investors. Garza could not be reached for comment.

Canada’s Scotiabank, initially seen as a logical bidder given its large Mexican unit, played down its appetite for big takeover deals in January.

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