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Virgin heads consortium in £1bn Northern Rock offer

Richard Branson’s Virgin Group has entered the circle of bidders for the crisis-ridden Northern Rock, heading a consortium of heavyweight names.

The consortium includes insurance giant AIG, Wilbur Ross, Toscafund and Hong Kong’s First Eastern Investment Group.

Last week, the consortium put forward a proposal to inject around £1bn of cash into the business in return for a stake of 50 per cent or more in the bank. Virgin plans to keep the bank on the stock market but to re-brand it as Virgin Money.

If the deal goes ahead the business would be run by Virgin Money chief executive Jayne-Anne Gadhia, who was set to head its reformed mortgage business.

Money Marketing revealed in January this year that Virgin Money was planning a return to the UK mortgage market. Virgin first launched into the mortgage market in 1998 with the Virgin One account, which combined a current account with a mortgage. But since Virgin One was bought out by Royal Bank of Scotland in 2001, the group has had no presence in the market.

Other interested parties in Northern Rock are believed to include two US investment firms, JC Flowers and Cerberus.

Northern Rock says the proposals it has received so far have only been preliminary in nature.


Darling to take part in TSC probe

Chancellor Alistair Darling will appear in front of the Treasury select committee as part of its inquiry into financial stability and transparency in the aftermath of the Rock debacle.

Defaqto brews up a special blend

Financial services research group Defaqto has changed the schedule of its quarterly multi-manager guide, Blending Talents, so that the first issue of 2008 will be in time for the Isa season.The fourth Blending Talents was published in September but the fifth issue has been brought forward to mid-November rather than December. This change allows the […]

Distribution Technology adds risk profiling tool

Distribution Technology is introducing a stand-alone risk profiling tool, Dynamic Risk Profiler, which will also work alongside wraps and platforms.DT has commercial agreements in place with Threesixty services, Lighthouse Group and Paradigm to supply the tool to their advisers.Dynamic Risk Profiler is a web-based risk profiling tool, based on research by the Psychometric Centre, which […]

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