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CIMB said in talks to sell US$200m stake in brokerage arm

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CIMB Group Holdings Bhd, Malaysia's second-biggest lender, is in talks to sell a stake in its brokerage business to China Galaxy Securities Co for about US$200 million, people with knowledge of the matter said.

[KUALA LUMPUR] CIMB Group Holdings Bhd, Malaysia's second-biggest lender, is in talks to sell a stake in its brokerage business to China Galaxy Securities Co for about US$200 million, people with knowledge of the matter said.

CIMB is in negotiations to sell a minority stake in its Malaysian securities unit and as much as 50 per cent of its overseas brokerage business to Galaxy Securities, according to the people. The Kuala Lumpur-based bank aims to reach a deal by the end of March, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private.

No final agreements have been reached, and details are subject to change, according to the people. CIMB said in October it was exploring a strategic partnership with Galaxy Securities in its stockbroking business and would seek to identify further areas of cooperation.

The planned stake sale is in line with CIMB's strategy to cut costs, exit some low-return businesses while expanding in selected areas to boost profitability. The firm closed its Australian office and shed jobs in Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea last year after abandoning a three-way merger with domestic competitors RHB Capital Bhd and Malaysia Building Society Bhd in 2015.

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CIMB, which has a market value of US$9.8 billion, said in October it was exploring a 50-50 joint venture with Galaxy Securities that would cover its institutional and retail brokerage, equity research and associated securities businesses. A spokeswoman for CIMB said she can't immediately comment, while a representative for Galaxy Securities didn't answer phone calls and an e-mail seeking comment.

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