“Citigroup executives have been devising plans for a possible multibillion-dollar stock offering in which the New York company would issue new shares to the public, while the Treasury Department would sell at least a portion of its Citigroup holdings,” sources tell this morning’s Wall Street Journal, which adds that while “Citigroup hasn’t held in-depth talks with the government” about the plan, “Over the weekend, Citigroup called a Treasury official and said the company wanted to start talking about paring down the Treasury investment, according to people familiar with the matter.”
Daily Intel has the transcript of that call.*
Scene: Citigroup building, midtown, the office of Chief Executive Vikram Pandit.
Pandit: [Looks at phone. Picks up receiver. Hangs up.]
Citigroup chairman Dick Parsons: Do it.
Pandit: I can’t.
Parsons: If you don’t have the Talk with him, things are just going to stay the way they are. And are you happy this way? Are you happy with us being a ward of the state?
Pandit: I guess not.
Parsons: Do you like it when people say we’re a TARP baby, or when Jamie Dimon calls you Pandit the Pansy?
Pandit: No …
Parsons: How about that time Lloyd Blankfein prank-called you and pretended to be Maxine Waters, and made you do 50 sit-ups in your office, counting them out loud, while everyone at Goldman listened in on speakerphone?
Pandit: I hated that!
Parsons: Then do it.
Pandit: But it’s the weekend! He’ll think I have no life!
Parsons: [Picks up phone, begins dialing] Look, I’m dialing for you.
[A voice comes through the phone]
Geithner: Yello! U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner!
Parsons: [Under his breath] I can’t believe he answers the phone like that. What a homo.
Pandit: [Nervously] Hi, Tim. It’s Vikram.
Geithner: Jesus, Vikram, why the fuck are you calling me on the weekend? Is the shit going down? Is Citigroup about to crash? I told you if you lost that $45 billion I would —
Pandit: No, no! I was just calling because I had something to say.
Parsons: [Nods encouragingly]
Pandit: I would like to pay back the TARP.
Geithner: [Relaxing] Well. That’s great, Vikram. Now?
Pandit: Well, no. But you know, soon. Eventually.
Parsons: [Mouthing] We’re going to raise some capital …
Pandit: We’re going to raise some capital! To offset the loan!
Parsons: [Mouthing] And …
Pandit: And we’ll pay you off in increments!
Geithner: Well, that’s fine, Vikram. As long as you raise offsetting capital, that’s fine. [Pauses] Is that all?
Geithner: K. I’ve got a tennis game with Jamie Dimon in ten. Gotta run.
Pandit: Bye! Talk later! [Hangs up]
Parsons: See, that wasn’t so bad, was it.
Pandit: No, I think he really is beginning to like and trust me!
Parsons: You go, girl.
*That we made up