The Wall Street Journal reports that Citigroup boss Chuck Prince has said that 'he doesn't expect the company to shed any of its major business lines', despite rumours that a break-up of the financial giant is the only thing that will move the Citigroup share price.
So all those ex-Salomon investment bankers harking for the freedom of years-gone-by look like you're stuck where you are for the time being. Having said that, Prince also said in the summer that cutting back on investment wouldn't do much for the company share price - but at a Citigroup investor day Thursday he did an about turn, and announced that investment spending would be cut back by more than a half next year to around $600m (there's hope for the Salomon crowd yet, then).
Prince admitted that he, too, was frustrated with Citigroup's share price, although the shares did rise 1.5% Thursday, to trade at their highest level for some six years.
The Citigroup boss also said that his company was 'back on a roll now' in the acquisition stakes. And he confirmed that the company would be on the prowl for 'targeted' deals outside of the US (the company confirmed Thursday that it is to buy UK wealth unit Quilter from Morgan Stanley) .
It remains to be seen whether Prince is the man to get Citigroup's show back on the road. It's a brave person who tells a King that he's wearing no clothes - but telling a Prince isn't quite so difficult, especially when he runs a public company. Investors hope that the top man can identify and deal with the real issues - and stop tinkering around the edges. We'll see.
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