(Updates with XP statement, context)
By Bruno Federowski
SAO PAULO, May 10 (Reuters) - Itaú Unibanco Holding SA , Brazil’s largest private lender, said on Wednesday it was in talks to acquire a minority stake in online securities brokerage XP Holding Investimentos SA, which is preparing an initial public offering.
Itaú has bid 6 billion reais ($1.9 billion) for 49.5 percent of XP Holding, Brazilian newspapers reported earlier Tuesday. Shareholders led by founder Guilherme Benchimol would maintain control of the broker, according to the reports.
XP Holding is aiming to disrupt Brazil’s brokerage market with online services for middle-class investors. An acquisition by Itaú would turn XP Holding into the newest asset for the country’s biggest private sector bank.
In a securities filing, Itaú said it has not yet signed an “agreement, transaction or contract” with XP Holding. The filing did not specify the terms of any potential bid.
Itau shares rose 1 percent in early trading, in line with a gain by the benchmark Bovespa stock index.
XP Holding said in a statement it does not rule out selling a minority stake but would not consider a change in control.
XP Holding shareholders, including U.S. buyout firm General Atlantic LLC, could sell a stake prior to the IPO slated for late May or June, Reuters reported on March 17. The São Paulo-based securities firm was seeking a valuation between 12 billion reais and 20.9 billion reais. ($1 = 3.19 reais) (Additional reporting by Gabriela Mello; Editing by Jason Neely and Jeffrey Benkoe)