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July 1, 2009

Tesco named as potential Northern Rock bidder

by Gill Montia

Story link: Tesco named as potential Northern Rock bidder

Tesco could be a potential bidder for Northern Rock, The Times has reported.

The supermarket giant first indicated its ambitions in the banking sector in July of last year, after it became sole owner of Tesco Personal Finance, previously a 50/50 joint venture with Royal Bank of Scotland.

The group is proposing to open bank branches in 30 of its stores by the end of this year initially focusing on credit card, savings and insurance products but with plans to launch a current account in late 2010 and possibly expand into mortgages after that.

Meanwhile, that Treasury has been developing plans to offload Northern Rock this autumn, with the likelihood that the nationalised lender will be split into two: one good and one bad bank.

Such a move would mean the Rock’s less desirable assets remaining in government hands, while its retail deposit book (valued at around £20 billion) and its network of 70 branches are auctioned off.

Previously named potential bidders for the “good” bank include Virgin Money, National Australia Bank and Santander plus private equity firms, Blackstone and Towerbrook.

 

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