NEW YORK (
is reportedly making further headway in its efforts to sell off what it's decided are non-core assets.
The company is in discussions to sell a portion of its retail banking assets in Portugal with U.K. bank
, according to the
Wall Street Journal
, which cited people familiar with the matter. The deal would include its credit card portfolio in that country, the
A deal could come early next week, said the article, which suggested the assets would likely fetch less than $100 million.
Citi has been looking to divest a number of assets it placed within its Citi Holdings' portfolio earlier this year. The unit - separate from its core Citicorp operations - holds a combination of brokerage, insurance, and lending businesses as well as a pool of toxic assets. The company has been successful at selling some businesses, such as its Japanese asset management operations, but not so much with others, like CitiFinancial and Primerica.
News of the potential sale followed media reports on Thursday that the parent company was looking to scale back its U.S. retail business in order to improve profitability and focus on six major hubs across the country.
In his keynote lunch presentation at the Barclays Global Financial Services Conference last Wednesday,
was asked about the "saleability" of the various assets the company is looking to unload.
Our goal is to find the right home over time, as long as it takes, the right way
to optimize the value," Pandit said.
Citi also plans to eventually divest its remaining minority stake in a joint venture with
that combines its brokerage operations with those of Morgan Stanley's Smith Barney unit.
Spokespeople for Citi and Barclays declined to comment to the
Shares of Citi were down 2 cents in early trading on Friday to $4.41.
--Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.