Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
has joined the group bidding for Citigroup's consumer lending unit OneMain, formerly known as CitiFinancial, the Wall Street Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter.
The Journal said Warren Buffett's Berkshire had joined the consortium consisting of private-equity investment firm Centerbridge Capital Partners LLC and Leucadia National Corp, which is in exclusive talks with Citi for the possible acquisition of OneMain.
OneMain could fetch more than $8 billion, one of the people told the Journal. The consortium plans to write a large equity check and borrow significant sums to finance the purchase, the paper said. The Journal had earlier reported the consortium's interest in OneMain.
Berkshire's presence bolsters the consortium's prospects to buy OneMain because Citi is focused on selling the business to well-capitalized owners that can keep the business stable, people familiar with the matter told WSJ.
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OneMain's book value is about $2 billion and has a large amount of loans on its balance sheet, the people told the Journal.
Citi and Berkshire Hathaway could not immediately be reached for comment by Reuters outside regular U.S. business hours.
Citi had recently restructured and rebranded OneMain. . OneMain offers personal loans to individuals through its network of 1,300 branches throughout the United States.
Citi is organized into two major segments — Citicorp and Citi Holdings. Citi Holdings is where the bank houses assets and businesses it plans to shed.
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