Mexican President wants Mexicans to buy out Citigroup unit | Latest News Headlines

Mexican President wants Mexicans to buy out Citigroup unit

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Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador says he hopes Mexican investors will buy out local Citigroup subsidiary

MEXICO CITY – Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said on Thursday he hoped Mexican investors would buy out the local Citigroup subsidiary.

U.S. banking giant Citigroup said on Tuesday it would sell its Citibanamex retail banking business in Mexico as part of a global strategy to focus on the enterprise market.

López Obrador’s comment is likely to attract attention, given his sometimes close, sometimes troubled relationship with two Mexican business tycoons.

One of them, retail and bank mogul Ricardo Salinas Pliego, wrote on his Twitter account that he was weighing an offer for the bank. Salinas Pliego already runs the smaller Banco Azteca.

“I have always believed and invested in Mexico and Mexicans,” wrote Salinas Pliego. “For this reason, I asked my team to analyze the opportunity to acquire Citibanamex and double my bet on Mexico, the Mexicans and their future.”

López Obrador has entrusted the post of American ambassador to a former associate of Salinas Pliego. He also included the mogul in government trade deals and proposed a central bank dollar buying bill that analysts say benefited Sanlinas Pliego. This proposal was then largely abandoned.

But many doubt Salinas Pliego can raise the $ 12 billion to $ 15 billion that analysts believe Citibanamex could cost.

The other mogul, Carlos Slim, the richest man in Mexico, is primarily interested in telecoms and construction, but also owns a small bank.

As the president maintains a cordial relationship with Slim – the two were seen having lunch together recently – Slim was also bruised by allegations of construction faults on an elevated subway line in Mexico City that collapsed last year, killing 26 people. Slim’s company agreed to repair the line at its expense.

Mexican officials said on Wednesday they would closely monitor the proposed sale of Citigroup, noting that the deal posed “delicate” regulatory issues.

Citibanamex is Mexico’s third-largest bank, and regulators are apparently concerned that whoever acquires it will gain too much of the banking market.

The country’s finance ministry said in a statement on Wednesday: “The exit of such a large retail bank from our country poses difficult questions for financial and regulatory authorities… including the fundamental issue of market concentration.

The president made his remarks on Citibanamex in a video posted to his social media accounts. López Obrador has been absent from his usual morning press briefings as he recovers from COVID-19, and has instead posted videos from his office.

López Obrador said he is recovering and has never had severe symptoms, saying “this variant has very mild symptoms. It’s the equivalent of a cold. ”Officials have suggested, but not confirmed, that he has the omicron variant.

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