Buffett's Berkshire in Group Bidding for Citigroup Unit

birkshire_citigroup-8661218Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. is part of a bidding group engaged in exclusive talks to buy the consumer-lending business formerly known as CitiFinancial from Citigroup Inc., said people familiar with the matter. Reported by WallStreet Journal.Berkshire rounds out a consortium that includes Centerbridge Partners LP and Leucadia National Corp. bidding for the business, which could fetch more than $8 billion, one of these people said. The consortium plans to write a large equity check and borrow significant sums to finance the purchase, this person said.Berkshire partnered with Leucadia in 2009 to buy Capmark Financial Group Inc.’s commercial-mortgage origination and servicing business, renaming it Berkadia Commercial Mortgage.

Mr. Buffett, in his 2009 annual letter to shareholders, wrote that Berkshire had a “terrific experience” years earlier when Berkshire teamed up with Leucadia to purchase a troubled finance business known as Finova, and that he was happy when Leucadia’s top executives called him to partner in the Capmark purchase.Berkshire has consumer-lending operations within its manufactured-housing business, Clayton Homes, which provides mortgages to buyers of its homes.

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