More to the point, if Citi were broken up into, say, the four entities we've suggested, the resulting companies would still be so big--their average market cap would be over $50 billion--that they'd be likely be just as well-positioned as Big Citi is to withstand the kind of financial turmoil Weill has in mind. The main difference: the standalone companies would be more focused, easier to manage, and less bureaucratic. They'd have an easier time recruiting talent, as well. Which means they'd almost certainly grow faster on their own than they can grow as Citigroup subsidiaries. Oh, and from the get-go they'd likely be worth more separately than they are all wrapped together in one massive financial monolith.
Citi ought to be broken up--now. If this is the best defense of the corporate status quo at Citigroup that Weill can come up with, the case for a making the move is even more compelling than I thought.
C 1-yr chart
Tom Brown is head of BankStocks.com.