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Rights price is slashed as US firm takes stake

Steven Crawshaw, Bradford & Bingley chief executive officer, has quit due to cardiac health problems as US private equity firm Texas Pacific Group takes a 23 per cent stake in the firm for £179m.

Crawshaw will be replaced temporarily by chairman Rod Kent who has become executive chairman.

B&B has repriced its rights issue and will now seek to raise £258m of capital, making a total of over £400m, including the TPG deal cash.

The original rights issue, announced last month and which was fully underwritten, was for a total of £300m with an offer price of 82p per share but the offer price has now been reduced to 55p per share.

Last Friday, B&B shares were priced at around the 88p level but trading was suspended on Monday when the share price fell sharply. The shares were trading at around 66p on Tuesday this week. Other bank shares were caught up in the sell-off with HBOS falling by 10 per cent on Monday.

TPG’s 23 per cent stake makes it B&B’s biggest shareholder and it will appoint two non-executive directors to the board.

Brentchase Financial Services mortgage specialist Mike Fitzgerald says: “It is clear that B&B needed to do something. I think this shows confidence in the UK market. It is a good sign that US investors are looking back across the Atlantic again.”

TPG partner Matthias Calice says: “Bradford & Bingley has a long-standing established franchise in the UK specialist lending market. We believe that the company’s superior market position, coupled with this injection of capital, provides the platform for potential growth and profitability.”

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