Apollo To Buy Citi’s Real Estate Unit

(Reuters) – U.S. private equity firm Apollo Management LP has agreed to buy Citigroup’s (C.N) real estate investment division, Bloomberg said, citing a person with knowledge of the deal.

The inclusion of Citi Property Investors to Apollo’s portfolio will more than triple the private equity firm’s real estate assets, the agency said.

City Property Investors’ portfolio includes 65 investments in 26 countries with a net asset value of $3.5 billion, according to the agency.

Apollo signed a letter of intent and the deal may take as long as three months to close, the agency said.

The U.S. government stepped in to prop up Citigroup at the height of the financial crisis in October 2008 when officials at the U.S. Treasury feared the bank’s crumbling financial condition could destabilize financial markets worldwide.

On March 4, Citigroup Chief Executive Vikram Pandit told a congressional panel that he had sold off many proprietary trading businesses, including the Phibro energy trading unit, and was focused on trading services for clients.

Pandit repeatedly told the panel that Citi was focused on back-to-basics banking for U.S. corporations worldwide..

Citi Property Investors has employed more than 90 professionals and manages about $12.5 billion in gross real estate assets, according to the company website.

Citigroup and Apollo Management could not be immediately reached for comment by Reuters outside regular U.S. business hours. (Reporting by Sakthi Prasad in Bangalore; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)