SINGAPORE/HONG KONG, Sept 17 (Reuters) - General Electric Co has hired Morgan Stanley to review its 33 percent stake in Thailand's Bank of Ayudhya Pcl, which could potentially lead to a sale by the U.S. conglomerate of its near $2.2 billion holding, sources familiar with the matter said.
GE's stake sale has been a constant source of media speculation since the U.S. conglomerate started to shrink its businesses. This is the first time the company has formally given a mandate for a review, underscoring the seriousness with which it wants to explore its options.
GE acquired the Bank of Ayudhya stake in 2007, investing 22.3 billion baht, or $626 million, based on the then exchange rate, in Thailand's No.5 lender.
It was unclear when GE would launch a formal auction, if at all, sources said, declining to be identified as the discussions were confidential.
Morgan Stanley was unavailable for comment. GE did not reply to an e-mail seeking response.