HSBC Holdings is in talks to sell its US card and retail services unit as it pares North American operations to focus on faster-growing emerging markets and retail banking in the UK“These discussions are ongoing and no decision has yet been made to proceed with any transaction,” the London-based bank said in a filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange today. Capital One Financial Corporation (COF) is in advanced talks to purchase the credit-card portfolio, a person familiar with the discussions said.The negotiations follow HSBC’s agreement on July 31 to sell almost half its US outlets for about $1 billion amid a drop in the value of assets acquired when it bought a subprime lender in 2003. Europe’s largest bank plans to eliminate 30,000 jobs by the end of 2013 to curtail expenses and last month sold assets in Russia and said it will shut branches in Poland.
“The disposal of assets will be positive for HSBC,” Sandy Mehta, chief executive officer for Hong Kong-based Value Investment Principals Ltd., said by telephone today. “HSBC is in a good position that it is not a forced seller. It is well capitalized so it can take the time. It’s not distressed.”The UK bank acquired the credit-card unit in 2003 as part of its $15.5 billion purchase of subprime-mortgage lender Household International, now known as HSBC Finance.
From / Gulf Today