SAO PAULO Jan 9 Brazilian lenders Banco
Bradesco and Banco do Brasil are in talks
to buy Citigroup's stake in a credit card processing joint
venture with Elavon Inc, a source with knowledge of the
negotiations said on Saturday.
The acquisition could be closed next month by Bradesco and
Banco do Brasil's holding company Elo Participações, the source
said, asking not to be named because the discussions are
Representatives for Bradesco, Banco do Brasil and Citigroup
declined to comment on the talks, which were first reported in
Saturday's edition of Estado de S.Paulo. The newspaper did not
say how it got the information.
Reuters reported in November that Citigroup had put the
stake up for sale after Brazil's central bank said the joint
venture needed more cash and the U.S. bank declined to come up
with any additional funds.
Citigroup owns 49.9 percent of the Elavon do Brasil venture,
which had negative equity of 195 million reais ($49 million) as
of June, according to Citigroup's Brazilian financial
statements, meaning the bank could lose money if it tried to
sell the stake.
Bradesco and Banco do Brasil are controlling shareholders of
Cielo SA, Brazil's No. 1 card payment processor.
($1 = 4.02 Brazilian reais)
(Reporting by Aluisio Alves; Writing and additional reporting
by Brad Haynes; Editing by Helen Popper)