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Citigroup to Sell Out of Japan Broker Monex: Report

Citigroupplans to sell its 26 percent stake in Japanese online broker Monex Group as part of the struggling U.S. bank's global efforts to raise cash, the Yomiuri newspaper reported on Friday.

Citigroup's stake in Monex was worth about 15.3 billion yen ($156 million) as of Thursday's close but shares in the firm, Japan's third-biggest online brokerage, dropped 5.7 percent after the report.

Yumiko Iuchi, a spokeswoman at Citigroup's Japanese investment bank unit, Nikko Citigroup, declined to comment on the report.

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Citigroup appears to have already sounded out several financial institutions on the sale of its stake in Monex, the Yomiuri reported.

Other Internet-based brokerages and large financial institutions that are looking at beefing up their retail businesses could be interested in the stake, the paper added.

Citigroup is also trying to sell its Japanese retail brokerage unit, Nikko Cordial.

Japan's top three banks, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Mizuho Financial Group and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group have all shown interest in buying Nikko Cordial, sources have told Reuters.

Monex Group was founded through a merger between Monex Inc and Nikko Beans in 2004.

Sony owns a 5 percent stake in the firm.

Shares in Monex fell 1,420 yen to 23,420 yen, underperforming a 2.5 percent fall in the benchmark Nikkei average.

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