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) -- The U.S. Treasury Department is taking its final step away from a $45 billion investment in


(C) - Get Citigroup Inc. Report

by selling a bundle of warrants to purchase common stock.

However, the offering is a speculative deal for interested buyers, since Citi is now trading at just 27% to 46% of the warrants' strike prices.

The Treasury announced on Monday that it plans to sell 465 million warrants to purchase Citi shares, some with an exercise price of $17.85, which expire on Oct. 28, 2018, and others with an exercise price of $10.61, which expire on Dec. 31, 2018.

The offerings will take place in modified Dutch auctions on Tuesday.

The Treasury Department has booked healthy profits on its warrant auctions from other large banks, like

Bank of America

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JPMorgan Chase

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Wells Fargo

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, which were all auctioned in 2009 and 2010. It has earned a $12.5 billion profit on its Citigroup investment so far.

Linus Wilson, an assistant professor of finance at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, estimates that the warrant sales could bring in anywhere from $49 million to $355 million, with a middle-of-the-road estimate of $111 million.

Yet the investment would still be something of

a speculative play, since Citi's current stock price is far from the strike prices of the Treasury warrants.

In recent trading, Citi was down a penny at $4.89.

-- Written by Lauren Tara LaCapra in New York


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