HSBC kicks off talks over sale of US cards business

HSBC yesterday said it was in talks to sell its US credit card and retail services business, to a buyer believed to be Capital One.

HSBC had flagged the sale of the business since May, when chief executive Stuart Gulliver announced a $3.5bn (£2.1bn) global cost cutting programme.

Sources close to Capital One said the two sides are nearing a deal that would transfer HSBC’s $30bn cards business over to the US lender.

The cards division made a pre-tax profit of $306m in the first quarter of 2011, down 15 per cent on the same period in 2010.

“HSBC confirms that it is in discussions regarding a possible sale of the business. These discussions are ongoing and no decision has yet been made to proceed with any transaction,” HSBC said in a statement yesterday.