Somebody’s Wrong on Citi

The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times both have scoops this morning on what Citi is planning to do about its plunging fortunes. Problem is, their scoops are diametrically opposed—one paper’s got to be wrong here.

The WSJ reports that Citigroup is considering selling the company or splitting itself up:

Executives at Citigroup Inc., faced with a plunging stock price, began weighing the possibility of auctioning off pieces of the financial giant or even selling the company outright, according to people familiar with the matter.

The NYT reports that Citigroup is not considering selling the company or splitting itself up:

Citigroup executives are seeking to stabilize the stock price, but at this point they are not actively exploring selling or splitting up the company, according to two people with direct knowledge of the discussions.

We’ll see, but I’d go with the Journal here. Citi’s got to do something. The stock is in free-fall, having lost more than half its value in five days. Here’s why:

Weighing down the shares has been the Treasury Department’s decision last week not to buy troubled assets from banks. Citigroup’s balance sheet includes battered securities and loans that many investors hoped could be offloaded to the government.

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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum.