Citigroup Inc. plans to sell or split off its $10 billion Citi Private Equity unit, expanding the list of money management businesses the company is disposing of to reduce debt, people familiar with the matter said.
The decision to sell Citi Private Equity was made last year, before President Obama on Jan. 21 proposed banks be forced to divest their private-equity firms and hedge funds, the people said. Ownership of such businesses can expose taxpayers to the risk of further bank bailouts, according to the White House.
A person close to Citigroup said its private-equity business does not conflict with the proposal, since most investing is done on behalf of customers and little of the bank's own capital is put at risk.
Depending on how the new laws or regulations are written, Citigroup may have to overhaul its private-equity business again, said Calyon Securities USA analyst Michael Mayo.