US private equity giants Apollo Global and JC Flowers are reportedly planning a joint venture to buy 316 bank branches regulators are forcing UK state-backed lender Royal Bank of Scotland Group to sell.
Sky News reported the story, adding that the branches have a book value of about £1bn.
RBS was said to have sent sales documents to potential buyers in mid-November, according to a Bloomberg report, which cited four unnamed people with knowledge of the talks.
Nationwide Building Society and Richard Branson’s Virgin Money Holdings were also cited as potential bidders for the branches.
UBS is handling the sale, the Bloomberg report added.
RBS must sell the branches by 2014 as a condition of receiving a £45.5bn in 2008 and 2009 under European Union state-aid rules.
Spain’s Santander shelved plans to buy the branches last month for £1.7bn, a price tag that is unlikely to be paid by the next potential buyer, the report said.
The branches, which serve small businesses and consumers, generated a £186m operating profit in the first half of the year and had £21.7bn in customer deposits, the report added.
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