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Buyout firms circle Citi's $1bn Tokyo call centre

SEVERAL private equity firms are circling Citigroup after it announced its intention to sell off a Japanese call centre.<br /><br />Major buyout firms Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR), Permira, Blackstone and Bain Capital are all understood to be interested in buying the centre, which is valued at up to $1bn (&pound;620m).<br /><br />Sources familiar with the situation said that of the interested parties, Blackstone and Permira had already submitted offers.<br /><br />Citigroup, led by chief executive Vikram Pandit, has been offloading assets after it split into a &ldquo;good bank&rdquo; housing core banking operations and a separate unit containing assets earmarked for sale.<br /><br />The Wall Street bank has already raised nearly $9bn from asset sales in Japan during the past three months but delayed the sale of the Tokyo call centre until market conditions improved.<br /><br />On Monday, Citigroup sold its interest in three North American partner credit-card portfolios, which manage some $1.3bn in assets.