The Royal Bank of Scotland is looking to float the 316 branches it is required to sell under European rules, according to reports.
The Sunday Telegraph reports a £1bn initial public offering is now the bank’s favoured option for selling off the branches.
Santander’s proposed £1.65bn acquisition of the branches collapsed last year due to concerns about the completion date and integration complications. Santander originally agreed to buy the branches in 2010.
The sale of the branches was mandated by the European Commission as part of conditions for its approval of state aid for Royal Bank of Scotland in 2009, with penalties likely if the deal is not completed by the end of the year.
Virgin Money and private equity group JC Flowers have been linked with bids for the branches. Virgin Money lost out to Santander in the original bidding war in 2010.
However, The Sunday Telegraph quotes a senior banking source as saying an IPO is now the “main option”.