Citi's credit card business in Japan gets joint bid from three buyers: Nikkei

By Reuters

Dec 05, 2014 06:55 PM EST

Three companies have emerged to make a joint bid for Citigroup Inc's (C.N) credit card business in Japan, the Nikkei reported, as the U.S. lender goes ahead with plans to exit consumer banking in the country.

Shinsei Bank Ltd (8303.T), department store operator Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings Ltd (3099.T) and credit card service provider JCB Co Ltd want to buy the unit, which offers Diners Club credit cards in Japan, the business daily reported.

Shinsei is expected to be the main buyer, with JCB assisting with account settlements and Isetan Mitsubishi providing department store services to cardholders, the report said.

The companies have not yet decided what they will pay for the business, the Nikkei said.

The sale price is expected to be in the range of 30 billion- 50 billion yen ($247.18 million-$411.90 million), according to some estimates, the Nikkei said.

Citi declined to comment or confirm the report.

Reuters had reported last month that four banks including Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp (SMBC) and Shinsei, were expected to participate in the second round of bidding for Citi's consumer banking business in Japan.

The consumer banking unit, estimated to have $9 billion worth of dollar-denominated deposits, has spurred interest of Japanese banks.

Citi wants to pull out of consumer banking in Japan after 100 years, due to weak demand for loans and falling interest margins. The lender is expected to pick a buyer for the Japanese business as early as December.

The sale is part of Citi's plan to shed retail businesses in 11 markets.

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