* Bradesco had offered $1.5 billion for Credicard
* Decision leaves clear path for Itau Unibanco
SAO PAULO, May 6 (Reuters) - Banco Bradesco SA , Brazil’s second largest private-sector bank, has dropped plans to purchase Citigroup’s local consumer finance unit Credicard, a Brazilian newspaper reported on Monday.
The decision leaves Itau Unibanco Holding SA, Brazil’s largest bank by market value, as the main bidder for Credicard, O Estado de S.Paulo reported, citing sources close to the negotiations.
Banco Santander Brasil SA, which was also seen as a potential buyer, has not confirmed its interest and could leave the race for Credicard soon, the report added.
Estado said Bradesco pulled out of the race to purchase Credicard after it got no reply from Citigroup for its offer of 3 billion reais ($1.49 billion). The offer was due to expire during the weekend.
An Itau spokeswoman said the bank made a firm bid for Credicard but declined to comment on the Estado report. Spokesmen at Bradesco and Citigroup declined to comment, and no one at Santander was immediately available.