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Citi, BofA left with some Barclays stock after Qatari stake sale –sources

FILE PHOTO: A branch of Barclays Bank is seen, in London

By Pablo Mayo Cerqueiro and Anousha Sakoui

LONDON (Reuters) - Citigroup and Bank of America were left holding some shares in Barclays after they could not identify enough demand for a 510 million pound ($642 million) stake sold by Qatar Holding, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The two bookrunners on the block trade set out on Monday to sell a 2.3% stake in the bank in a move by Qatar to cut back on its crisis-era investment in Britain's Barclays, which is struggling to reinvigorate its share price.

Barclays, BofA and Citigroup declined to comment. Qatar Holding did not immediately respond to a request for comment outside of normal business hours.

Reuters could not establish what portion of the stake sold by the Qatari sovereign wealth fund the two banks were left holding. The banks may sell the shares over time.

The banks priced the deal at 141 pence, a 1.4% discount to the Barclays closing share price, at 2120 GMT on Monday, a source close to the matter previously told Reuters.

However, only part of the offer was placed with investors, with the rest left with the investment banks, the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.

Shares in Barclays fell as much as 4.5% on Tuesday morning on the back of the block trade and closed around 2.5% down.

Qatar became Barclays' largest shareholder during the 2008 financial crisis when it injected 4 billion pounds into the UK bank in a deal that helped avert a taxpayer bailout. It remains a significant shareholder in the bank after Monday's sale.

Britain's financial watchdog later fined Barclays $55 million for fees paid to Qatari entities in the 2008 fundraising, which Barclays said it would appeal.

Barclays this year began working on plans to save as much as 1 billion pounds, which could involve cutting as many as 2,000 jobs, mainly in its back office, Reuters reported last month.

It is also selling its consumer finance unit in Germany and considering selling a stake in its domestic merchant services business, Reuters previously reported.

Barclays has also expressed interest in acquiring Tesco's banking business.

($1 = 0.7945 pounds)

(Pablo Mayo Cerqueiro and Anousha Sakoui; Editing by Elisa Martinuzzi and Alexander Smith)