Axis Bank on Wednesday said it will acquire US-based Citi's consumer business in India for Rs 12,325 crore in one of the largest deals in the Indian financial services space which will help it close the gap with larger peers like ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank.
“Axis Bank and Citibank today announced that their respective Board of Directors have approved the acquisition of Citibank’s consumer business in India by Axis Bank,” Axis Bank said in a tweet. The post was accompanied by a graphic card with the text: The city always stays open”.
The day after the deal, Axis Bank put out a frontpage newspaper advertisement with a clever wordplay on Citibank's iconic “Citi never sleeps” slogan.
“The city never closes. It stays open,” the Axis Bank ad reads.HSBC too joined the Axis Bank-Citibank buzz to put out a sharply-worded half-page ad on the same day. “What’s beyond the city? Only the entire world,” the ad text reads.
City (Axis Bank), Citi (Axis Bank), and City (HSBC) pic.twitter.com/LVNT768yuJ
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“Was it a coincidence that these appeared on the same day?” Twitter user Daksh Juneja said, sharing screenshots of the two ads.
The employees who are part of Citibank's India consumer business, who number up to 3,600, will be transferred to Axis "upon completion of the proposed transaction", the Citigroup said.
Citi India CEO Ashu Khullar said the deal with Axis is a "positive outcome for our staff", adding that the company's priority has been on securing their future.
The deal comes almost a year after Citibank had announced that it will exit its consumer franchises in 13 markets, including India, and refocus on its more lucrative institutional and wealth management businesses. Its Indian consumer banking business comprises credit cards, home loans and retail banking.Axis Bank emerged as the lead buyer after beating rivals like Kotak, another private lender which was reportedly "more aggressive" and had submitted a bid lower than that of Axis, CNBC TV18 reported earlier today. Other factors like job security for current Citigroup employees, competition concerns, and more were also considered before taking the final call, the report added.