Gasparino: The Government May Unwind Its Massive Stake In Citigroup As Early As Spring

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The U.S. government may sell its massive stake in Citigroup as early as this spring, FOX Business’s Charlie Gasparino is reporting.

From Charlie’s report:

Previously, federal officials, including Herbert Allison, who heads the Troubled Asset Relief Program, have said that they plan to unload the government’s 27% stake in Citi over the next year. But FBN has learned that in private meetings with Wall Street investment bankers, the federal government is discussing the possibility of doing it sometime over the next three months.

A Treasury spokesman had no comment, and a Citi spokesman also declined to comment.

In December, Citi announced its plan to repay the government money it was lent in order to survive the financial crisis. The bank agreed to fork over to the government $20 billion it had been given from TARP, which was created to infuse the banking system capital during the dark days of the financial crisis, when the vast majority of the big banks – including Citi – were heading toward insolvency.

Under terms of the deal, once Citi repaid the money the government would sell its equity stake in the bank, which totals some 7 billion shares. But the government pulled back from the offering because of the low price offered in the market. Since then, however, shares of Citi have stabilised above $3.50, so now might be the right time for the government to unload its stake.

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