US private equity firm KKR has teamed up with asset management giant BlackRock to launch a bid for the consumer finance arm of investment bank Citigroup, formerly known as CitiFinancial, which is expected to fetch around $2bn.
According to the Financial Times, the KKR-BlackRock team is up against Spanish bank Santander for the division, now known as OneMain Financial as well as the investment group of former Citigroup exec Bob Willumstad, who has teamed up with Blackstone Carlyle for a bid.
US private equity firm Apollo Management is also said to be considering partnering up with financial services-focused investor JC Flowers for a bid.
The deal would be unusual for BlackRock, although the firm has co-invested or acted for third-party investors in similar transactions in the past.
Rebraded as OneMain at the end of last year as the firm prepared to spin it off OneMain has over 1,500 branches and two million customers. Citigroup head Vikram Pandit is said to have been looking to sell the company since the start of 2009.
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