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ING board to decide on U.S. online banking unit sale: report

Exterior of the Dutch bancassurer ING before the presentation of the company's 2010 annual results in Amsterdam
Exterior of the Dutch bancassurer ING before the presentation of the company's 2010 annual results in Amsterdam

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The board of Dutch financial services group ING Groep NV is expected to decide on Wednesday on a buyer for its U.S. online-banking business, the Wall Street Journal reports on Tuesday.

The paper, citing people familiar with the matter, said Capital One Financial Corp is the lead contender to win the ING Direct USA unit. The paper also says General Electric has made a bid but that its offer is complicated by its hesitation to take on mortgage-related assets.

The paper quotes the source saying the price is expected in the "high single digit billions" but the deal could still fall apart, another bidder could appear, or GE could also return with a more attractive offer.

ING needs to sell its online bank ING Direct USA and Dutch mortgage lender WestlandUtrecht Bank to comply with the European Commmission conditions for state aid.

(Reporting by Roberta B. Cowan; Editing by Andrew Callus)

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