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Rock could be sold early for right price

There could be an early sale of Northern Rock if the price is right, Chancellor Alistair Darling revealed to MPs last Wednesday.

He said: “We have always said that our intention is to return the banks we own back to the private sector. However, my overriding concern is that when we come to sell, we make sure we get value for the taxpayer who has had to step in and put money into Northern Rock and indeed other banks.

“It is not something I want to rush into. I am not saying that if someone came along tomorrow morning and offered a fantastic price for it that we would not sit down and look at it.

“But if someone is coming along and offering one of these deals where basically I appear to have to pay them rather than they pay me, then I am in no hurry to sell.”

Virgin Money was close to agreeing a deal to buy Northern Rock shortly before the Government stepped in and nationalised the beleaguered lender.

A Virgin Money spokesman said: “We always keep an eye out on the market for any opportunity that would be interesting.”

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