Richard Branson Renews Interest In RBS
Sir Richard Branson's banking arm has made a swift approach to swallow up more than 300 branches at the centre of an escalating row between Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Santander UK.
I have learned that Virgin Money has approached the state-backed RBS in the last 24 hours to express an interest in buying 316 branches that must be sold under orders from the European Commission.
Virgin's interest will provide a glimmer of hope to RBS that it may yet be able to secure a sale ahead of a Brussels-imposed deadline of the end of 2013.
Santander UK's purchase of the business for £1.65bn, which had already been the subject of several rounds of re-negotiation, collapsed on Friday night amid acrimony.
The Spanish-owned bank said it was pulling out of the deal amid problems with the network's IT systems, while RBS suggested that they provided a convenient excuse to withdraw amid the banking industry's torrid operating environment.
A deal would be far from straightforward for Virgin Money, which last year agreed to take Northern Rock off the hands of British taxpayers.
The RBS branch network requires billions of pounds of capital to be allocated to it for regulatory purposes, and Virgin Money may struggle to convince investors that it can do that while also focusing on the integration of Northern Rock.
NBNK Investments, a vehicle set up to buy assets from state-backed banks, would be a logical contender to bid for the RBS branches but is in the process of being wound up following its failure to buy a chunk of Lloyds Banking Group earlier this year.
The collapse of the sale to Santander UK is not RBS's only headache.
As I revealed last weekend, the Edinburgh-based bank is also involved in a tussle with the Treasury over the concessions it must make in order to escape the clutches of a giant state insurance scheme.
Virgin Money and RBS declined to comment.
what do you think?
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It's about right Branson put In a bid but Santander became the favored bidder this a bank that has its own home growen problems but of course would get British tax payers money in grants . Seems a familiar thing when Branson tries to do things theses days .Well I hope he gets it but he will be in for a tough time when the other banks gang up on him
Really hope virgin money gets rbs branches, I was a northern rock customer for over 20 years and the switch to virgin was painless, the extra branches would be brilliant and give a good back the chance to be a great bank.
Royal bank of Scotland a British bank being ordered around by Brussels. .and our government unable to act
Thank heavens! It's them that helped get the banks into this mess.
Sure but my comment was more along the lines of Brussels law overriding British law. This has to stop.
Richard Branson does seem able to find mother-lodes and to make silk purses out of pigs ears, but he is not getting any younger and and we know that mental faculties degrade over time. I hope he still eats right and does the daily crossword or sudoko. Also, I am a long time RBS (and earlier Williams and Glyns) customer.
Go for it Richard
Hope he gets it, we need Free Market capitalists to save the day !
I think he will have it run more for the benefit of the customers, as with most Virgin ventures, and if he also makes a lot of money for himself and team then that's fine. 2 pluses = good plus!
If Cameron says yes then we will lose £45 billion. If he says yes then we must have him thrown out. He is paying £12.5 billion on overseas aid but says he cannot pay the Armed forces more than £4.1 billion. Cameron is idiotic and should now be charged with High Treason