Now that Citigroup Inc. has agreed to unload a majority stake in its Smith Barney brokerage, some executives are mulling the possibility of selling its Mexican banking operation, Grupo Financiero Banamex.
People familiar with the situation said last week that the New York company would pursue a sale only if its financial position continued to deteriorate.
Citi is not officially exploring a sale of Banamex, but after posting over $28 billion of losses for the past five quarters and facing pressure from the federal government to keep shrinking, the company is considering which pieces could be unloaded to generate cash if necessary, the people say.
Potential suitors have contacted Citi about Banamex, but the parent company rebuffed those overtures, according to the sources.
Jon Diat, a Citi spokesman, said it "has no intention of selling Banamex," which is "at the center of the core franchise for the future."
Investment bankers estimate that Banamex, which accounted for roughly half of Citi's 2007 profit of about $3.6 billion, could fetch at least $9 billion in a sale.