Brazil’s Nubank denies interest in buying Banamex

Nubank said on Thursday it was not interested in bidding for Citigroup’s Citibanamex consumer banking business in Mexico, pouring cold water on analyst speculation the Brazilian online lender could consider such a purchase.

“Nubank believes that mergers and acquisitions are an important avenue for growth, but at the moment it has no interest in buying Citibanamex in Mexico,” Nubank said in a statement in response to a question from Reuters.

Nubank, which went public in December, has been expanding in Mexico and some analysts said the Citi unit, likely to carry a price tag between $4 billion and $8 billion, could be of interest to it.

Citigroup aquired Banamex for $12.5 billion in 2001 after an economic crisis that devastated the bank sector in the mid-1990s.

Mexican billionaires such as Carlos Slim and Ricardo Salinas Pliego, and banks like Canada’s Scotiabank and Spain’s Santander are among front-runners to buy the Citibanamex assets.