Citigroup exploring brokerage unit’s merger with Morgan Stanley

January 14th, 2009 - 12:41 am ICT by IANS  

New York, Jan 13 (DPA) Citigroup is in talks to merge its brokerage unit, Smith Barney, with rival Morgan Stanley, the US bank said in New York Tuesday.No agreement has been reached, Citigroup said in a statement. But the discussions involve Morgan Stanley paying $2-3 billion for a 51 percent stake in a joint business, Bloomberg news agency reported, citing an unnamed source familiar with the talks.

Citigroup has been hard hit by the financial crisis and has cut thousands of jobs, while its losses for the fiscal year could rise to more than $20 billion when it announces quarterly numbers next week.

It has received two cash infusions totalling $45 billion from the government.

The possible combined brokerage would be the largest of its kind worldwide.

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