HSBC is in talks to sell its US credit card arm, with Capital One Financial seen as the leading buyer for the $30bn (£18.5bn)-plus business.
The bank confirmed the talks yesterday, but declined to name the possible bidders. However, speculation soon focused on Capital One, theVirginia-based company which earlier this year expanded its business by acquiring ING's online bank in the US in a $9bn deal.
The sale is part of HSBC's efforts to cut costs and refocus its sprawling international business under new chief executive Stuart Gulliver, who recently said the bank was making progress with the planned sale. "These discussions are ongoing and no decision has yet been made to proceed with any transaction," the bank said yesterday.