The sale of Banamex can reach up to 8 billion dollars; Slim and Larrea are still in contention

The sale of Banamex can reach up to 8 billion dollars;  Slim and Larrea are still in contention

Banamexthe Mexican unit of Citigroup, can attract offers of 7 billion and 8 billion dollarsas the number of bidders dwindles, according to people familiar with the matter.

Grupo Financiero Banorte, Carlos Slim’s Grupo Financiero Inbursa, mining magnate Germán Larrea and Grupo Financiero Mifel are still in play, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private.

Thinwith a net worth of $73.5 billion, and Larréewho, along with his family, owns about $24.3 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, they are the two richest people in Latin America.

Representatives from Citigroup, Banorte and Inbursa declined to comment. Representatives for Mifel and Grupo México de Larrea did not respond to requests for comment. The sales process is continuing and offers for the unit could change, the people said.

Earlier this year, New York-based Citigroup put its retail unit Banamex up for sale after its share of Mexican deposits fell nearly 10% in the two decades since the bank’s takeover. Mexican National in 2001.

Banorte, who is Mexico’s second-largest bank by total loans, just behind BBVA, is considered the main candidate for the takeover of Banamex.

Banco Santander said on July 22 that it was excluded from the bidding process after Citigroup rejected a $6 billion offer from the Spanish bank, the sources said. A Santander representative declined to comment further.

A sale at “snail’s pace”

The sale process has been slow, according to people familiar with the talks. Meanwhile, Citigroup has considered a deal to buy the bank’s Mexican unit. German Bank to obtain a license more quickly for operations centered on institutional clients and private banking.

Frank Aguado, Inbursa’s head of investor relations, said last week that the company would be interested in buying Banamex at a “reasonable” price.

In a call, he told analysts that Inbursa is inviting other Mexican businessmen to join its bid, but there is no defined group yet.

Larrea, who controls copper miner Grupo México, has hired Grupo Aeroméxico chairman Javier Arrigunaga as well as Pedro Aspe to advise him, the sources said. Aspe served as treasury secretary when Banamex and other lenders were privatized in 1991, having been nationalized during a financial crisis a decade earlier.

Arrigunaga had been the head of Citibanamex from 2010 until his resignation in 2014 amid allegations of a total of $400 million in fraudulent loans to oil services provider Oceanography. The two joined as advisers alongside Barclays, as reported Bloomberg previously.

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