WASHINGTON, Mar 29 – The US Treasury Department on Monday announced it would sell its stake in Citigroup over the course of 2010, in what would be one of the largest stock sell-offs in history.
The department said it intends "to fully dispose of its approximately 7.7 billion shares of Citigroup, Inc. common stock over the course of 2010 subject to market conditions."
The US government owns around a third of the company. At current market value, those shares are worth around 33 billion dollars.
In the midst of the banking crisis, the government injected a total of 45 billion dollars in the firm, once the world\’s biggest banking group.
The government said the sell-off would be gradual, amid concerns a quick unloading of the stock would flood the market and dilute the value of the firm. "Treasury intends to sell its Citigroup common shares into the market through various means in an orderly and measured fashion."
Shares in the banking giant were up 1.6 percent in pre-trading.
The treasury also owns billions of dollars worth of Citi trust-preferred securities and warrants — financial instruments allowing holders to buy stock in the future at a fixed price.