HSBC says in talks for possible sale of US card, retail business | india | Hindustan Times
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HSBC says in talks for possible sale of US card, retail business

india Updated: Aug 09, 2011 11:31 IST

HSBC Holdings Plc, Europe's biggest bank, said on Tuesday that it is in talks on the possible sale of its card and retail services business in the United States.

"These discussions are ongoing and no decision has yet been made to proceed with any transaction. HSBC will make a further statement if or when appropriate," the company said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange.

The statement was made in response to recent media speculation concerning a possible sale, it added.

HSBC flagged the possible sale of its $30 billion plus U.S. card unit in May as part of a $3.5 billion cost-cutting overhaul under new chief executive Stuart Gulliver.

Bankers have called it a tough sale as not many buyers remain for such large credit card portfolios since the financial crisis. A regulatory crackdown has made it harder to turn a profit. Industry members said it would be difficult for HSBC to get the premium it wants for the value of the business on its books.

Since 2007, both Citigroup Inc and General Electric Co have tried -- and failed -- to sell similar large US credit card portfolios.

Gulliver has said that HSBC will wind down the credit card business if it cannot find a buyer.