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Santander to negotiate purchase of RBS branches

Spanish bank is the final bidder for the 318 branches

15 June 2010

Banco Santander is set to begin negotiations with Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) over the acquisition of 318 of the British firm's branches.

The Spanish bank was the sole final bidder for the assets, having tabled an offer of somewhere between £1.5 billion and £2 billion.

The deal could be completed within weeks if negotiations run smoothly.

Fellow Spanish bank Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA (BBVA) was the only other firm competing with Santander for the deal.

However, BBVA reportedly only made the bid to gain more information on the UK market, rather than being genuinely interested, the Wall Street Journal reports.

RBS plans to sell branches in England and Wales and NatWest branded branches in Scotland, which have a combined £23.6 billion in assets and 6,000 employees.

Should the deal be completed, Santander would expand its own 1,300-strong network of banks in the UK.

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