The Bank of America (BAC.N) is completing plans to sell over half of its shares in the China Construction Bank (0939.HK), with a group of Asian and Middle Eastern sovereign wealth funds negotiating to buy, the New York Times reported on Saturday.

 

The report, citing two unnamed officials briefed about the negotiations, added to signs that a sale of a large chunk of Bank of America's stake in the Chinese bank, the world's No. 2 by market value, is imminent.

A consortium of sovereign wealth funds in Asia and the Middle East as well as several private equity firms are in negotiations with bankers and could close a deal by early next week, said the New York Times report.

While Bank of America plans to sell at least half of its 10 percent stake in the Chinese bank, it is willing to unload much more than that for the right price, the report said, citing the unnamed officials.

Investor Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRKa.N) (BRKb.N) moved this week to invest $5 billion in the Bank of America last week, the largest bank by assets in the United States, as a signal of confidence.

Bank of America is expected to unload part of the stake soon after a lock-up expires next week, given the bank's capital needs and its falling, single-digit share price.

Potential buyers of the CCB stake this time around could include the Kuwait Investment Authority, as well as China Life (2628.HK) and Singapore state fund Temasek Holdings TEM.UL.

This week, CCB dismissed concerns about rising bad debts and said its relationship with the Bank of America remains strong despite talk that its U.S. partner may sell part of its stake.