Virgin head Sir Richard Branson and US private equity veteran Christopher Flowers are both in the running to acquire 316 UK bank branches from Royal Bank of Scotland, after Santander pulled out of a deal last week.
Flowers, who set up buyout group JC Flowers & Co in 2001, is keen to target similar opportunities in Europe, according to the Financial Times, and is looking to build out portfolio company One Savings Bank, which was formed out of its acquisition of UK building society Kent Reliance in 2011.
In September 2008, Flowers purchased the First National Bank of Cainesville, a regional bank in Missouri, renaming it Flowers National Bank.
RBS is obligated to sell the branches as a penalty for the banking group’s state-backed bailout following the financial crisis.
According to the report, one of the reasons Santander walked away from the deal was over concerns that the deal would not be completed until 2014. It said the sale would likely now struggle to hit £1bn, as the £1.65bn agreement with Santander in 2010 took place in a better environment for UK and SME retail lending.
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