Citi said to pick Union Bank as preferred bidder for Philippines

·1-min read
FILE PHOTO: A pedestrian walks in front of Citibank's office in the financial district of Makati suburban Manila on November 18, 2008. (Photo: ROMEO GACAD/AFP via Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: A pedestrian walks in front of Citibank's office in the financial district of Makati suburban Manila on November 18, 2008. (Photo: ROMEO GACAD/AFP via Getty Images)

By Manuel Baigorri and Elffie Chew

Citigroup Inc. has chosen Union Bank of the Philippines as its preferred bidder to acquire its consumer banking assets in the Southeast Asian country, according to people familiar with the matter.

Citigroup and Union Bank plan to continue to negotiate the terms and structure of a deal with the goal of reaching an agreement over the coming weeks, the people said. A potential sale could value the assets at about $1 billion, the people said.

Talks are still ongoing and there’s no certainty a transaction will be concluded, the people said. Other bidders remain interested, they said.

A representative for Citigroup and Union Bank President Edwin Bautista declined to comment.

The sale of Citigroup’s consumer banking assets in the Philippines had drawn bids from other financial institutions including BDO Unibank, Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co. and Bank of the Philippine Islands, Bloomberg News reported in October.

Citigroup is divesting consumer banking businesses in certain markets as it seeks to reshape itself around more profitable units like investment banking, while focusing its wealth franchise around hubs in Hong Kong, London, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.

© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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