Virgin Money weighs up bid for 316 RBS branches

Virgin Money weighs up bid for 316 RBS branches

LONDON - Agence France-Presse
Richard Branson’s Virgin Money is mulling a bid for 316 branches of the Royal Bank of Scotland, a source familiar with the matter said yesterday, after the collapse of a deal to sell them to Spanish giant Santander.

Virgin Money, which bought the remains of Northern Rock bank last year, is “re-examining the potential for a bid” for the RBS outlets, the source told AFP.

The Sunday Telegraph, meanwhile reported that buyout firm NBNK was also having a look at the RBS division.

Santander on Oct. 12 pulled out of a $2.65-billion, (2.05-billion-euro) deal to buy the 316 outlets from Royal Bank of Scotland, in a heavy blow to the state-rescued British lender.

Santander argued that it did not believe banks could meet a February 2013 deadline, extended from the end of 2011, to complete a sale ordered by the European Commission in 2010.

Virgin Money had lost out to Santander in the original auction for the RBS branches in
a sales process that comprised five bidders.

Edinburgh-based RBS was required to reduce its branch network as part of EC penalties after it received a vast 45.5-billion bailout at the height of the global financial crisis.