Citigroup Buys Into Turkey

The big bank buys an equity stake in a Turkish lender.
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is expanding its operations in Turkey by buying a 20% equity stake in Akbank, Turkey's third-largest lender.

In the deal, Citigroup will pay about $3.1 billion to acquire an interest in Akbank, which has 674 branches in Turkey.

Citigroup says it has agreed not to acquire additional shares in Akbank and expects the transaction to add to earnings immediately.

"Akbank is an ideal partner for Citigroup,'' says Citigroup Chairman and CEO Charles Prince. "It is a premier institution in the fast growing and dynamic Turkish market."

Citigroup, the nation's largest financial-services firm, has had operations in Turkey since 1975.