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Centerbridge Partners ponders RBS bank branches buyout

13 Mar 2013

pounds11_sqUS private equity firm Centerbridge Partners is reportedly interested in picking up more than 300 bank branches being sold by UK-backed lender the Royal Bank of Scotland.

The firm has teamed up with Corsair Capital to explore an offer for the branches according to Sky News.

Last October it emerged Virgin head Sir Richard Branson and US private equity veteran Christopher Flowers were in the running to acquire 316 branches from RBS after Santander pulled out of a deal.

Flowers, who set up buyout group JC Flowers & Co in 2001, was said to be keen to target similar opportunities in Europe according to the Financial Times.

RBS is obligated to sell the branches as a penalty for the banking group’s state-backed bailout following the financial crisis.

Santander walked away over concerns the deal would not be completed until 2014, the FT added.

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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