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RBS to sell more Citizens shares

23march1Royal Bank of Scotland is to sell up to $3.3 billion more shares it holds in U.S. bank Citizens thereby bringing down its stake to less than half and accelerating its retreat to its home market. The British bank said it will sell 115 million shares of Citizens’ common stock and up to another 17.25 million shares in an over-allotment option, equivalent to 24% of Citizen’s issued shares. RBS sold a first slice of Citizens in an IPO in September, and said if all the shares are sold in the latest offer its stake will be reduced to 46.1%. Citizens, headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, was bought by RBS in 1988 and expanded with 25 acquisitions, including the $10.5 billion purchase of Charter One in 2004. RBS is selling Citizens as part of a retreat to its core UK retail and commercial banking business, a process which has involved it slashing its balance sheet and quitting dozens of countries. It expects to complete the Citizens sale by the end of 2016.

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