Citi has taken a lot of shit for (potentially) paying commodities trader Andrew "C" Hall a hundred million dollar bonus and you know what? They're sick of it. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be much Vikram and Co can do to stop the relentless rounds of "you suck," short of selling the whole damn thing. So, that's exactly what they're going to do. Just get rid of it. Nevermind that P-ro has been consistently profitable for 15 years. The bitching is too much to take. Moving forward, this will be the tactic Citi plans to take to solve all its problems. Got complaint about the bank? Air it in a public forum and it's gone. Don't care for Vikram? No problemo, he's done.
Citigroup is working on a sale of its controversial commodities unit in a move that could raise hundreds of millions of dollars and deflect political anger over a potential $100m pay-out for its star trader Andrew Hall.
People close to the situation said that, after debating options such as divesting part of the unit, called Phibro, opening it up to outside investors or spinning it off, Citi's executives favoured a complete divestment of the commodity trading division.
Citi executives and government officials said there had been no pressure from the authorities to sell Phibro - which operates from a converted farmhouse in Connecticut, far from Citi's headquarters.
But people close to the situation said the desire to quash the compensation controversy was one of the reasons why Citi's management favoured a sale. Keeping a stake or opening up Phibro to outside investors would still leave Citi vulnerable to criticism over Mr Hall's pay, they added.
If anyone's interested in the thing, please get in touch at this time. The FT reports that talks to gauge Warren Buffett's interest have "cooled," which is a polite British way of saying WB told the bank "I wouldn't fuck Phibro with Pandit's dick."