CNBC-TV18 learned that Axis Bank is all set to acquire Citibank's India retail business, including banking, credit cards, home loans, and wealth management, and the deal announcement may happen today itself.
The deal, which has been many months in the making, is expected to be a little under $2 billon, sources have told CNBC-TV18. Sources said the deal could be between $1.6 billion and $1.7 billion and will include milestone-linked payments.
While Citibank declined to comment on the deal, CNBC-TV18 is yet to hear back from Axis Bank, which is likely to hold a press conference after market hours.
With the acquisition of Citibank’s India retail business, Axis Bank would get a greater footprint across India as well as a boost to its total credit card customers. As per data from Reserve Bank, in February, Axis Bank had an outstanding credit card base of 8.6 million. According to sources, the deal is likely to include Citibank's lucrative customer base of 2.6 million credit cardholders.
During the period of integration, Citibank is understood to have committed to Axis Bank that it would continue servicing customers. So, Citibank's credit card customers will also not face any issues during the integration.
Sources also said that factors such as job security for current Citigroup employees as well as competition concerns were considered before taking a call on the deal.
There were many players that were in the running. Apart from Axis Bank, the likes of Kotak Mahindra Bank and IndusInd Bank were very keen on Citibank’s consumer banking portfolio.
In April last year, Citibank had said it would exit the consumer banking business in 13 markets in Asia Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, to focus on the four wealth centres of London, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, and Hong Kong.
The bank was to exit from India, Australia, Bahrain, China, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Poland, Russia, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.
While announcing the exit plan, the bank had said it does not see enough scale in the 13 markets’ consumer business. Citibank has 35 branches in India with a customer base of about 2.5 million account holders with 1.2 million loan accounts. Citi was among the first banks to introduce Indians to credit cards.
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