Citigroup announced plans to increase its assets in South Korea fivefold by buying KorAm Bank, the nation's sixth- largest lender, for $2.73 billion. If approved by regulators, the takeover would be the first acquisition of a Korean bank by a foreign investor. Under the agreement, Citigroup, the world's largest financial-services company, will buy 36.6 percent of KorAm and make a tender offer for the remaining shares. KorAm lists assets of $36.8 billion and has 225 branches. The deal follows others Citigroup has made in recent years to extend its consumer-banking expertise to overseas markets.
Less than four years after being spun off, the No. 1 Internet service provider in France, Groupe Wanadoo SA, appeared headed back under the total ownership of Europe's second-largest phone company. Reports Monday said France Telecom offered $4.8 billion for the 29.4 percent of Wanadoo it doesn't already own and that an answer is expected from the latter's board within eight business days. France Telecom's chief said minority shareholders in Wanadoo could accept payment in cash, stock, or a combination of the two. Wanadoo has about 9 million subscribers on the Continent and in Britain and Morocco and has outperformed its ex-parent in terms of their share prices, especially in recent months.
An ambitious $19 billion fundraising campaign is expected to be announced as soon as Tuesday by Network Rail, the owner of Britain's train stations, bridges, tunnels, and 21,000 miles of track. Reports said the not-for-profit, two-year-old company formerly known as Railtrack, would seek to generate the funds through the sale of medium-term bonds to tide it over until a review of its status and promised $41.5 billion long-term subsidy has been completed by the government and the operators of the trains that use its trackage. Network Rail has struggled to improve the system as well as its image following a series of fatal accidents that have been blamed on shoddy maintenance.