Itau Unibanco Holding SA, Latin America’s largest lender by market value, submitted a proposal to buy Citigroup Inc.’s Credicard unit in Brazil.
“We don’t know yet when Credicard will announce its decision on the proposals it received,” Rogerio Calderon, Itau’s head of investor relations, told reporters today, declining to comment further on the bid.
Citigroup, the world’s biggest credit-card lender, also received offers from Banco Bradesco SA and Banco Santander Brasil SA, Folha de S.Paulo reported on April 13, without saying where it obtained the information. Itau is the favorite to win the bid, the newspaper said. Citigroup declined to comment, according to an e-mailed statement.
Citigroup Chief Executive Officer Michael Corbat has exited or scaled down consumer-banking operations in emerging markets such as Pakistan and Turkey to cut costs. He has threatened to withdraw from 21 more markets if results don’t improve. Corbat has already announced plans to shut 14 branches in Brazil.
The Credicard division includes a credit-card business and a consumer-financing unit. New York-based Citigroup is the 11th-largest bank in Brazil with 61.2 billion reais ($30.6 billion) in assets as of Dec. 12, according to the nation’s central bank.