US private equity firm JC Flowers is lining up bids for at least four building societies to create a “supermutual” which would be partially floated in five years, according to The Observer.
The report names West Bromich, Norwich & Peterborough, Skipton and Principality as societies the firm is looking to acquire through its stake in Kent Reliance.
In July, JC Flowers agreed a deal to take a 40 per cent stake in Kent Reliance and to invest £50m with the aim of using it as a platform to acquire further building societies. Earlier this month, JC Flowers announced the creation of a new subsidiary, OneSavings plc, which it is seeking a banking licence for.
The Observer report says the “supermutual” would mirror the structure of Crédit Agricole in France which is 60 per cent owned by 39 retail co-operative banks with the remaining shares trade on the stock market. The report suggests JC Flowers would be looking to float its minority stake in five years.
The report says building society members would be offered free shares and assurances that members would remain in overall control of their society.