may sell both its Japanese investment bank and brokerage, according to media reports.
The two units could bring in hundreds of billions of yen if sold together, according to a
report which cites
newspaper. Nikko Cordial, the retail brokerage, may alone raise up to 300 billion yen ($3.1 billion), sources with knowledge of the matter have said.
One person familiar with Citigroup's strategy, however, said selling Nikko Citigroup, the investment banking unit, wasn't part of Citigroup's plans as it was vital to the group's presence in Japan's economy,
Citigroup is looking to sell assets around the world to raise cash and is in talks with U.S. regulators for the government to increase its stake in the bank. The
Wall Street Journal
reported earlier this week and again Wednesday that the bank is on the verge of ceding more control to the U.S. government. Citigroup is in talks with federal officials about the U.S. taking greater ownership of the bank by converting its 7.8% stake of preferred shares to as much as 40% of Citigroup's common stock.
Nikko Cordial Securities, a brokerage with about 110 branches across Japan, was put up for sale this month, drawing interest from the country's top three banks --
Mitsubishi UFJ Financial
Sumitomo Mitsui Financial
Although Citigroup didn't originally plan to sell Nikko Citigroup, it may now look to bundle the two units because this could allow a buyer to benefit from cooperation between the two units and drive up the price, according to reports from the Japanese newspapers.
This article was written by a staff member of TheStreet.com.