Citigroup weighing sell-off option: WSJ

November 21st, 2008 - 3:00 pm ICT by IANS  

New York, Nov 21 (IANS) With the stocks of Citigroup dipping a record 26 percent in a single day Thursday, its top executives are now look at various options including auctioning off its various wings or even outright sale of the company, the Wall Street Journal said Friday.The financial giant, considered a symbol of globalisation, the Citigroup is headed by Indian American Vikram Pandit. This week alone, its stock prices have dropped by 50 percent, forcing it explore measures that would have been unthinkable a few weeks ago.

Early this week, Pandit had announced to cut as many as 53,000 jobs and drastically reduce its expenditure next year.

Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud has announced he would pump in more money in Citigroup by increase his holdings to five percent in the company, which has more than 200 million customers in over 100 countries.

But none of these measures seems to have worked as investors continue to dump its stocks in the market, resulting in the worst-ever drop in its scrip.

Besides the option of auctioning parts of its businesses, The Journal said in a front page article: “Citigroup executives also are weighing the possibility of selling the company or merging with a rival. Some analysts have pointed to Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Inc as a potential suitor.”

Citigroup top executives are scheduled to formally meet Friday, the newspaper said, adding that Pandit himself is expected to discuss the situation with senior managers.

Meanwhile, a Citigroup spokeswoman said the company has a very strong capital and liquidity position and is focused on executing its strategy that includes cutting expenses and selling assets.

“We believe the benefits will be seen over time,” she said in a statement.

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