Abu Dhabi Pumps in $7.5b To Save Citigroup

Reeling from massive losses due to its disastrous missteps in the subprime mortgage segment, embattled financial services giant Citigroup is getting a $7.5 billion cash infusion from Gulf nation Abu Dhabi through a sale of Equity Units convertible into shares.

The Abu Dhabi investment is expected to close within the next several days. 

The badly-needed cash infusion is being made via the Gulf nation’s investment vehicle Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) and will eventually give it a 4.9% stake in the financial services company making it one of Citi’s largest shareholders.

ADIA is the sovereign wealth fund of the government of Abu Dhabi, one of the seven emirates that comprise the federation of the UAE. 

Putting a positive spin on the Abu Dhabi investment, Citi’s Acting CEO Win Bischoff said Monday night:

This investment, from one of the world’s leading and most sophisticated equity investors, provides further capital to allow Citi to pursue attractive opportunities to grow its business. It builds on a series of actions we have taken over the past several months to strengthen our capital base, which have included sales of certain non-strategic assets, the issuance of trust preferred securities, and the previously announced plan to use common stock to purchase 32% of Nikko Cordial in Japan. In addition, ADIA is a significant participant in alternative investments and emerging markets financial services, two areas in which we have major positions and have been expanding.

Citi executives said ADIA had agreed not to own more than a 4.9% stake in the financial services conglomerate and would have no special rights of ownership or control and no role in the management or governance of Citi, including no right to designate a member of the Citi board.
Citi said substantially all of the investment proceeds would be treated as Tier 1 capital for regulatory capital purposes and support its goal of achieving its targeted capital ratios by the end of the first half of 2008.

Each Equity Unit is convertible into Citi shares at prices ranging from $31.83 to $37.24 per share on dates ranging from March 15, 2010 to September 15, 2011. Each Equity Unit will pay a fixed annual payment rate of 11%.

Meanwhile Citi’s shares fell to $29.75 on Monday on the New York Stock Exchange, the first time it’s slipped below $30 since 2002.

The Citigroup investment is Abu Dhabi’s second major investment in recent weeks and follows its move to acquire a 8.1% stake in U.S. microprocessor firm AMD for about $700 million.

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