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Citibank prices equity offering at $20.5 billion

By Ben Rooney, staff reporter

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Citigroup said Wednesday it intends to raise $20.5 billion in the stock market as part of its plan to repay bailout money and free itself from government restrictions.

The New York-based lender said it will offer 5.4 billion shares of common stock priced at $3.15 per share. It will also offer 35 million "tangible equity units," which are are comprised of a prepaid stock purchase contract and a note, for $100 each.

The stock offering is expected to raise $17 billion, while the tangible equity units could bring in another $3.5 billion. Citi said the combined offering is the largest public equity offering in U.S. history.

Citigroup said it would no longer be considered a recipient of "exceptional financial assistance" under the Treasury Department's Troubled Asset Relief Program once the offering is complete and the loss-sharing agreement it has with the government is terminated.

That would free Citi from government imposed restraints on, among other things, executive compensation.

Citi also said that the Treasury, which holds a 34% stake in the bank, decided not to sell any of its shares in connection with the offering. The Treasury also extended the "lock-up period" on the sale of its 7.7 billion shares to 90 days from 45 days, Citi said.

Citigroup became one of the biggest recipients of bailout money last year after the government injected $45 billion into the company to help stabilize the embattled lender.

Concerned about the company's underlying health and ability to endure future loan losses, the government converted $25 billion of its preferred-stock stake in the company into common stock over the summer. That effectively gave U.S. taxpayers a 34% stake in one of the world's largest financial institutions.

-- CNNMoney.com staff reporter David Ellis contributed to this report. To top of page

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