Citigroup Inc will sell a $1.7 billion portfolio of private-equity assets to European buyout firm AXA Private Equity, as the U.S. bank looks to focus on its core businesses, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The portfolio consists of 207 limited-partnership interests in buyout funds, including stakes in funds owned by KKR & Co , Blackstone Group , Carlyle Group and others, as well as direct stakes in about 20 companies, the Journal said.

The deal is expected to be announced on Wednesday, the paper said.

Citigroup and AXA Private Equity did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Journal said that the stakes, which are part of the company's roughly $600 billion in assets, include troubled loan and securities portfolios which it had earmarked for sale in 2009.

In April 2010, AXA Private Equity bought a $1.9 billion portfolio of private equity funds from Bank of America.

(Reporting by Vaishnavi Bala in Bangalore; Editing by Erica Billingham)