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Virgin a part of acquisition bid for RBS branches

Virgin Money and a US private equity firm have been linked with a bid for over 300 Royal Bank of Scotland branches.

14 December 2012

Virgin Money and US private equity group JC Flowers have made a bid to take over 316 branches of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).

Reuters said sources close to the matter had indicated a bid had been made, but the news provider confirmed it had been told by Nationwide, Britain's biggest mutual, that it did not intend to get involved in business negotiations for the branches.

He said: "We haven't bid. We will continue to pursue growth in the SME and current-account market organically."

Private equity firm AnaCap, another rumoured bidder, did not comment on reports that it may also be interested.

RBS has to sell the branches by 2014 as part of the conditions of its £45.5 billion government bailout after the 2008 financial crisis, a move that left the taxpayer owning 82 per cent of the bank.

Virgin Money had been one of the interested parties in a possible takeover of Northern Rock in 2007, before pulling out ahead of the government's nationalisation of the floundering lender.

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