In Need of Cash, Banks Looking to Sell

It's a buyers market as banks unload 'everything from branches to entire units'
By Jim O'Neill,  Newser User
Posted Dec 28, 2007 7:48 AM CST
The Morgan Stanley sign is seen at their world headquarters December 19, 2007 in New York City. Morgan Stanley, America's second largest investment bank, reported a fiscal fourth-quarter loss caused by...   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Still in need of cash, as subprime writedowns continue to maul bottom lines, US and European banks are selling off or shuttering non-critical assets. They've already sold stakes to foreign investors and borrowed from central banks; now it's time for the yard sale, as the Wall Street Journal puts it. Citigroup and the UK’s HSBC, among others, are primed to sell.

Merrill Lynch Monday booked $1.3 billion for its commercial lending business, and Morgan Stanley took part of its investment-analysis business public, raising $250 million in November. Experts say Citigroup could raise $12 billion selling small- to mid-sized units and expect HSBC to float its $13 billion US auto-loan unit. Both may struggle to find buyers in the current environment.