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Citigroup troubles could lead to sale

Nov. 21, 2008 at 8:10 AM
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NEW YORK, Nov. 21 (UPI) -- A precipitous slide in Citigroup Inc. shares this week has prompted talks of selling part or all of the company, sources said.

Citigroup shares have been battered by sell-offs that have led to a 50 percent decline in shares this week, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Thursday's announcement that Saudi Arabia's Prince Alwaleed bin Talal bin Abdulaziz al-Saud would increase his Citigroup holdings from 4 percent to 5 percent did not stop the sell off, prompted by fears the enormous bank's toxic assets and the general economic downturn will topple the company.

The slide followed the U.S. Treasury's announcement last week that it would not use the $700 bailout program to purchase toxic assets, the Journal noted.

Citigroup board members scheduled a formal meeting Friday to discuss options, while various bank divisions rushed to reassure investors.

"Citi has a very strong capital and liquidity position," a bank spokeswoman said. "We're focused on executing our strategy," which includes trimming operating costs and selling assets.

Citigroup is also lobbying the Securities and Exchange Commission to restore a temporary moratorium on short selling, the Journal said.

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