WSJ: Sandy Weill May Launch Private Equity Fund

(Reuters) – Former Citigroup Inc (C.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) Chief Executive Sanford Weill is in talks to launch a private equity fund that would invest in beaten-down financial companies and assets, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Weill has in recent weeks reached out to potential investors, including sovereign-wealth funds, outlining his strategy and gauging their interest in putting money into such a fund, the paper said, citing sources familiar with the matter.

Weill retired as Citi’s chief executive in 2003 and is now the bank’s chairman emeritus.

Officials at Citigroup were not immediately available to comment.

The paper said Weill’s tentative goal is to raise about $5 billion, although it wasn’t clear if he would go through with the plan.

The paper said Weill’s potential partners could be Michael Klein, who was co-head of Citi’s investment bank until he left in July, and Michael Masin, former chief operating officer at the New York-based company.

In 2005, Weill was preparing to launch a private-equity fund but shelved the idea following an outcry from Citi’s board, which worried that the venture might compete against the company, the Journal said. (Reporting by Shradhha Sharma in Bangalore)