The Big Plastic Sell-Off

Corporate America is finding no shortage of eager buyers for its noncore credit-card units and financing divisions

In the 1990s, companies rushed to increase revenues by building up their finance businesses. Now, many are racing to get rid of them. In the biggest such deal to date, Sears Roebuck (S ) sold its credit-card operations to Citigroup (C ) for $3.4 billion on July 15. Now, Circuit City Stores (CC ) is considering selling its $3 billion portfolio of bank and credit-card receivables. And General Motors Acceptance Corp. (GM ) wants to raise as much as $1.5 billion by shedding its commercial-mortgage business (see BW, 8/04/03, "For GM, Mortgages Are Now the Motor").

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