Asset managers Threadneedle and Schroders have both been linked with acquiring a stake in the 316 Royal Bank of Scotland branches put up for sale last year.
According to the FT, Threadneedle Investments has been approached about buying a stake in the branches, which went up for sale again after Santander backed out of a deal to acquire them. Threadneedle has been in talks with the state-backed lender and Canaccord Genuity, the investment bank and broker, about taking part in the sale, a source close to the firm has said.
The report also says Schroders has been linked with the branches, however, the asset manager declined to comment. RBS and Canaccord Genuity also both declined to comment.
Santander pulled out of the deal to buy the RBS branches – agreed for a price of £1.65bn in August 2010 – earlier this month amid concerns over the completion date and integration complications. The deal was initially set to conclude at the end of 2011, however Santander feared it may take until 2014 to transfer the business.
RBS is under pressure to sell the stake within the next 12 months to comply with an EU deadline to comply with state aid rules. However, given the complexity of the deal the bank is expected to ask for an extension.
Nationwide, Virgin and US private equity firm JC Flower have all been touted as potential suitors for the branches.