NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Citigroup ( C) may retain a minority stake in its consumer finance business rather than sell the entire franchise as initially planned, according to a news report.

The business, once known as CitiFinancial but rebranded as OneMain Financial, has about $13 billion in assets and may deliver as much to Citi in a sale. There are several groups of investors, including a bank and several big private equity firms, reportedly bidding on the business .

On Tuesday, Reuters cited anonymous sources who said Citi may retain a stake in the unit and is offering partial financing to interested bidders.

Among the interested parties are reportedly a group that includes BlackRock ( BLK), KKR ( KKR), Warburg Pincus and potentially Banco Santander ( STD). Another group includes private equity firms Brysam Global Partners, Blackstone ( BX), Carlyle Group, Thomas H. Lee Partners and WL Ross & Co. while another includes Apollo Management and J.C. Flowers & Co.; and yet another consisting of Clayton, Dubilier & Rice and Toronto-based Onex Corp. ( OCX). Bloomberg outlined those bidders in an earlier article.

It's still unclear who will win the bidding war or how a deal will be structured, particularly because of its size. Citi has acknowledged that it's pursuing a divestiture of the consumer finance business, but has declined to provide additional details, as is typical of deals that are still in early stages.

-- Written by Lauren Tara LaCapra in New York.

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