Bankia Said to Start Auction for City National Bank of Florida

Bankia SA, the lender that received the biggest Spanish bailout, has begun seeking buyers for U.S. subsidiary City National Bank of Florida, said people familiar with the matter.

Bankia is seeking $700 million to $800 million in cash for the Miami-based lender and gave suitors two weeks to submit non-disclosure agreements, said one of the people, who asked to not be named because the matter is private.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is helping to find buyers, and plans to establish a virtual data room for bidders to perform due diligence, the people said. The 26-branch City National had assets of $4.8 billion and deposits of $3.5 billion as of Dec. 31, according to a statement last month.

Selling City National would bring the Spanish lender one step closer to completing the restructuring plan approved by the European Union, which calls on Valencia-based Bankia to sell almost 50 billion euros ($67.3 billion) in assets through 2015. The bank won approval for a bailout last year after asking for government help in cleaning up bad loans.

Spokesmen for Bankia, City National and Goldman Sachs declined to comment.

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