Take physic, pomp

Banamex, Itau and Citigroup: Rumours in the village

The first Itau-to-buy-Banamex scuttlebutt was reported here over the weekend, but now those drums are getting louder. Brazil’s Jornal do Comercio has today placed Itau executives in Mexico City and goes as far as to say Itau will announce the purchase of Banamex from Citigroup next week. The price being hammered out revolves around U$12Bn, apparently.

Caveats needed:
1) Brazil throws out these bizrumours all the time. Do not treat them as gospel. However JdC is a better class of publication and is unlikely to start gossip for gossiping’s sake.

2) If this is true, Pandit is toast. As shown in the previous note, Pandit has set his stall out to defend C’s participation in emerging markets and Banamex in particular. You cannot say that Citi and Banamex “are one” on Feb 20th, sell the subsidiary a couple of weeks later and continue to be taken seriously. So does he want to be toast? I highly doubt it, so we have another reason not to trust the rumour. On the other hand, according to those who follow banking up North, Pandit has been on deathwatch for quite some time.

3) Itau (ITU) people are almost certain to be in Mexico, but it might be for the Redecard transaction that was announced last week. Itau is already the bulk shareholder in Brazil’s Redecard but is apparently going to buy 4% of the 17% Citi is selling (again, a cash raise at C). So all this means there may be another reason to see Itau suits in the Banamex HQ.

DYODD. H/T finetik

UPDATE: Meanwhile, Bloomie is reporting this today as its top regional headline. Mexican opposition lawmakers want to limit foreign government ownership in the following way:


“…Under the initiative published today in the official Senate gazette, if a foreign government has a stake in a foreign company that owns a Mexican bank, the foreign firm would have to reduce its ownership in the Mexican bank to less than 50 percent within 30 days. Senators from the opposition Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, plan to propose the bill….”


Toldya it would make headlines, RG 🙂

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