Dec 16 (Reuters) - JPMorgan Chase & Co, which is
pushing to simplify operations on its $2.46 trillion balance
sheet, has put up for sale its Global Special Opportunities
Group, an Asia-based unit that makes investments in mid-sized
companies, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The group employs about 35 people and tends to take stakes
in loans that rank low in the capital structures of companies
smaller than the large multi-national corporations the bank
usually courts for international business, the person said
declining to be identified because they were not authorized to
speak on the record.
The bank is marketing the unit to private equity funds and
credit-oriented hedge funds that make similar investments.
The unit is focused on real estate, impaired assets and
principal finance and has expertise in distressed debt,
according to a page on JPMorgan's website. It has its home
office in Hong Kong.
The decision to sell the unit was reported earlier on Monday
by the Financial Times.
JPMorgan, the biggest U.S. bank by assets, has been moving
this year to unload ancillary businesses, or "hobbies," as CEO
Jamie Dimon sometimes calls them.
JPMorgan is selling its physical commodities business after
concluding its prospects were too dim in light of how much it
complicated the relationship with regulators. It is also
spinning off One Equity Partners, its private equity business,
and has said it will quit making student loans.
The bank announced its drive to simplify after coming under
pressure from regulators and politicians for its size amid
questions about whether it can safely manage its diverse
operations. Last year, the company lost more than $6.2 billion
when a derivatives trading strategy went out of control in
(Reporting by David Henry in New York; Editing by Bernard Orr)