Linklaters advised Citi to sell its five consumer banking franchises in Southeast Asia, including the sale of Citi’s Philippines franchise to Union Bank of the Philippines and consumer banking franchises in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam to United Overseas Bank (UOB). Allen & Overy advised UOB.
The transactions in the Philippines are expected to close in the second half of 2022, while the transactions in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam will close between mid-2022 and early 2024, subject to relevant regulatory approvals. Citi’s decision aligns with its strategic plan to shift the focus of its consumer business in Asia to wealth management.
The Linklaters team advising on the transaction included Hong Kong-based corporate partners Matthew Middleditch and Christopher Yip, and Singapore-based partners Adrian Fisher and Laure de Panafieu.
Middleditch, who is also Linklaters’ chairman of global corporate practice, told Asia Business Law Journal that the transactions were principally sales of businesses. “As a result, the most challenging aspect was the need to co-ordinate and document the means of transferring large quantities of customers, third-party contracts, employees and data, taking into account the different circumstances and legal requirements in each country,” he said.
“We expect M&A activity to continue in the sector as banks focus on their strategic priorities, which may lead to banks exiting or expanding in specific areas of business.”
Allen & Overy’s team advising on the transaction was led by Singapore partner Chris Moore, with input on regulatory matters from Singapore partner Kwok Shuhui.
The Jakarta team from Ginting & Reksodiputro, in association with Allen & Overy, was led by partner Sugianto Osman. Vietnam support was led by partner Tran Duc and the Thailand team by partner Noparat Kaewsringarm. Malaysia legal advice was provided by local firm Kadir Andri & Partners.
Previously in January, Citi has sold its consumer banking franchises in Taiwan to DBS Bank. Citi has also announced it will sell its operations in South Korea, with the deal to be finalised by the second quarter of 2022.