Citigroup Inc. agreed to sell its 103-year-old subprime lender OneMain Financial to Springleaf Holdings Inc. for $4.25 billion in cash, taking another step away from the business model championed by Sandy Weill.
Springleaf, majority owned by Fortress Investment Group LLC, plans to complete the acquisition in the third quarter, the Evansville, Indiana-based company said Tuesday in a statement. Citigroupsaid the sale will add about $1 billion to pretax earnings, and Springleaf expects the deal to boost 2015 net income, excluding one-time charges tied to the purchase.
Citigroup is jettisoning a consumer lender founded in 1912 as Commercial Credit that Weill used as a building block to create the world’s largest financial supermarket. Chief Executive Officer Michael Corbat has continued to dismantle it, picking up where predecessor Vikram Pandit left off. The firm has sold more than 60 businesses and $700 billion of assets, including insurance and retail-brokerage units that Weill once deemed essential.
“Today’s announcement is a significant milestone in the simplification of our company,” Corbat, 54, said in the statement. “While this business didn’t fit our strategy, it serves customers who deserve and need credit.”
Springleaf and Baltimore-based OneMain are two of the biggest U.S. providers of installment loans, a type of high- interest credit. OneMain lends money for purposes including auto repairs and remodeling kitchens. The combined company will have 1,967 branches in 43 states, and Springleaf expects to close about 200 branches beginning next year, according to its statement.
“We look forward to welcoming OneMain’s talented team members as we build on our mutual success to enhance the growth potential of the combined company,” Springleaf CEO Jay Levine said in his firm’s statement.
Pandit tagged OneMain for sale in 2009 after the parent company took the largest U.S. bank bailout. He rebranded the unit in December 2010 and started an auction process in 2011 that later broke off without a deal. New York-based Citigroup said in May 2014 that it was once again pursuing exit options.
Citigroup had been seeking at least $4 billion for OneMain, people familiar with the matter have said, and also had filed to hold an initial public offering for the unit, pursuing a dual- track process to get the best price. Citigroup’s portfolio of unwanted assets will break even or be profitable for a second consecutive year in 2015, Chief Financial Officer John Gerspach said Monday.
Levine will run the combined company, and Mary McDowell will continue as OneMain’s CEO. The firm expects to migrate to the OneMain brand beginning in mid-2016 and it will be run from Connecticut, according to Springleaf.
Fortress is a private-equity and hedge-fund manager. The firm pushed into consumer lending with a 2010 deal to buy a majority stake in American General Finance from American International Group Inc., the insurer that was divesting assets to repay a U.S. bailout. The operation was rebranded as Springleaf.
OneMain had $3.34 billion in shareholder’s equity and $9.72 billion in assets at the end of September, according to a filing issued as part of its proposed IPO. The firm generated $415 million in profit on $1.67 billion in revenue in the first nine months of 2014. Springleaf earned about $552 million during the same period, it reported in November.
Citigroup is acting as its own adviser on the deal. Bank of America Corp., Barclays Plc, Credit Suisse Group AG and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. advised Springleaf.
For more on corporate divestitures, see Strategic Buyers Will Shed Non-Core Assets in 2015.