SAO PAULO, May 7 (Reuters) - Grupo BTG Pactual SA, the largest independent investment bank in emerging markets, could be interested in acquiring the Brazilian unit of HSBC Holdings Plc, which has been put up for sale, Valor Econômico newspaper reported on Thursday.
Valor, which did not say how it obtained the information, said the process of sale of HSBC Brasil began about ten days ago, and that BTG Pactual had been offered the chance to take a look at the asset. HSBC hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc to find a buyer for the underperforming unit, the paper said.
Shares of BTG Pactual shed 1.1 percent to 29.52 reais in early Thursday trading.
While the newspaper did not give a clear indication of what would lure BTG Pactual into buying HSBC Brasil, it noted that an acquisition would help the São Paulo-based lender almost double its 224.1 billion reais ($74 billion) in assets.
BTG Pactual, controlled by billionaire financier André Esteves, is nearing the completion of a purchase of Swiss private banking firm BSI Group.
A spokeswoman for BTG Pactual declined to comment on the Valor report. A spokesman fopr HSBC in São Paulo said the bank, Brazil's seventh-biggest by asstes, does not comment on market speculation.
The report comes after HSBC Chief Executive Officer Stuart Gulliver has pointed at Brazil, Mexico, Turkey and the Unites States as potential markets for disposals. According to Valor, regulators in Brazil could block the purchase of HSBC Brasil by a large bank, which would be likely to fire staff and shut branches to recoup part of the price paid for the asset.
HSBC Brasil Banco Múltiplo SA, as the unit is formally known, had about 170 billion reais in assets as of December.
$1 = 3.0331 Brazilian reais Reporting by Guillermo Parra-Bernal; Editing by Nick Zieminski