LONDON: Richard Branson’s Virgin Money and US private equity group JC Flowers have submitted bids for 316 bank branches being sold by Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), sources familiar with the matter.
But Nationwide, Britain’s biggest customer-owned financial services group, which previously indicated an interest in the branches, did not proceed with a bid, a spokesman told Reuters.
UBS received non-binding first-round bids on behalf of RBS at noon on Thursday, three sources familiar with the process told Reuters.
Bidders have not yet been told whether RBS will select a preferred bidder from the initial offers, or whether a shortlist will be invited to submit second-round bids.
RBS, which is 82 per cent owned by the British taxpayer, must sell the branches by 2014 as a condition of its 45.5 billion pounds ($73.4 billion) government rescue.
No further developments are expected until January, two sources familiar with the process told Reuters. One source confirmed that Virgin Money had bid. Two confirmed JC Flowers’ offer.
UK private equity firm AnaCap was also reportedly interested in bidding for the branches, which were almost sold to Santander in a 1.65 billion pounds deal that collapsed in mid October.