AMSTERDAM General Electric Co (GE.N) and Capital One Financial Corp (COF.N) have submitted bids for ING's (ING.AS)(ING.N) U.S. online banking operations in a deal worth about $9 billion, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.
ING may reach an agreement to sell ING Direct USA this month, Bloomberg reported, citing sources familiar with the matter. It said GE has submitted an all-cash bid, while Capital One's bid would be partly in shares.
ING was forced to split its insurance and bank operations and agreed to divest ING Direct USA by 2013 to obtain European Commission approval for 10 billion euros of Dutch state aid received in 2008 during the financial crisis.
Proceeds from the sale would be used to repay the state.
A spokesman for ING in Amsterdam declined to comment on whether GE and Capital One had submitted bids.
"I can confirm that the process to prepare the sale of ING Direct USA is ongoing," Raymond Vermeulen said on Tuesday.
The Netherlands paid nearly 40 billion euros to rescue the domestic financial sector in 2008 when it was forced to nationalize ABN AMRO ABNNV.UL and provide capital injections for Aegon (AEGN.AS) and SNS Reaal SR.AS as well as ING.
ING has already announced several divestments and has paid back part of the state aid. It said it would repay the remaining 3 billion euros by May 2012.