Citi consumer business sale: Kotak Mahindra, Axis and IndusInd submit bids

Three of the country’s leading private lenders – Kotak Mahindra Bank NSE -0.19 %, Axis Bank and IndusInd Bank NSE -1.48 % – have made binding offers to buy Citi’s consumer business in India, valued at about $2 billion, said people with knowledge of the matter. The US bank under CEO Jane Fraser is looking to exit consumer banking in 13 countries, including India.

The offers were submitted on Friday.

Citi is expected to start bilateral negotiations and announce a formal winner in the next one-two months. None of the bidders have offered stocks, and have submitted all-cash bids. The first two are the most aggressive bidders and are the frontrunners.

The business comprises credit cards, retail banking, home loans and wealth management. The bank has 35 branches in the country and employs 4,000 people in the consumer banking business. It contributes a third to overall business but in terms of profitability, corporate banking accounts for more than 80%. Overall, Citibank’s India unit had a market share of advances and deposits of 0.6% and 1.1%, respectively.

A Citi spokesperson declined to comment on speculation.

“Across our remaining strategy refresh markets, we are pursuing consumer franchise sales with a focus on optimal results for our people, our clients and our shareholders,” the person said. “Conversations with potential buyers continue in all these markets including India, with strong interest from a broad range of bidders.”

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