Bank of America has decided to sell its entire stake in Brazilian bank Itau Unibanco Holding for approximately $4.4bn, ending a partnership started in 2006 when the Brazilian bank took over the local unit of FleetBoston Financial's BankBoston's businesses from Bank of America for $2.8bn.

Bank of America will sell 188.4 million Itau preferred shares through a secondary offering. Itausa – Investimentos Itau, the parent company of Sao Paulo-based Itau, also agreed to buy from Bank of America 56.5 million Itau common shares.

Following the purchase of the common shares, the total direct and indirect stake held by Itausa in the total capital stock of Itau Unibanco will increase from 35.43% to 36.68%.

As a result of such transactions, Bank of America will no longer have the right to appoint one member of the board of directors of Itau Unibanco.

Bloomberg quoted Jerry Dubrowski, a spokesman for Bank of America, as saying: “We determined it was a noncore asset. With the acquisition of Merrill Lynch we have a significant presence in Latin America and Brazil and this doesn’t change that.”