Loyals of Abu Dhabi involved in RBS talks

Loyals of Abu Dhabi involved in RBS talks

Loyals of Abu Dhabi involved in RBS talks

A woman walks past a Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) branch in central London on Feb 23. Abu Dhabi investors are reportedly interested in an investment in RBS. AP photo

Talks to sell a stake in Britain’s state-owned Royal Bank of Scotland are being held at the level of the Abu Dhabi ruling family, sources told Reuters.

A source familiar with the matter said on March 27 that Amanda Staveley, a businesswoman notable for her Middle Eastern connections, was advising the emirate’s rulers.

“The talks have been going on for six months, and nothing is likely to materialize for the next few months,” the source said, adding that Abu Dhabi could end up with a stake of more than a third, though it has not decided which of its entities would hold the stake.

Staveley played a prominent role in Abu Dhabi royal Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahayan’s 2008 investment in another British bank, Barclays.

The Financial Times reported yesterday that Abu Dhabi investors had discussed a 10 billion pound ($16 billion) investment in RBS.

A senior banker told Reuters on March 27 that the oil-rich emirate’s sovereign wealth funds were not involved in talks at this stage.

“It’s happening higher up,” the banker said, adding that a deal could fall apart on price grounds. Two other banking sources also said that a deal, if it happened, would be struck at a government-to-government level.

“Abu Dhabi is always talking to parties to invest, including RBS. Whether it will materialise or not is too early to say,” a source close to the royal family said on condition of anonymity.