Spain's Santander poised to buy RBS branches: reports

3rd August 2010, Comments 0 comments

Santander, Spain's biggest bank, is poised to buy 318 branches in Britain from Royal Bank of Scotland, which has pledged to shrink its network after receiving a huge state bailout, reports said Tuesday.

The acquisition would see the Spanish banking giant add to the 1,300 branches it already owns in Britain after its takeovers of Abbey in 2004, Bradford and Bingley and Alliance and Leicester in late 2008.

The deal could be announced as early as Tuesday, reported the Financial Times and Times newspapers, adding the handover of the branches is expected to take about 18 months.

Santander unveiled its bid for the branches last month, although it did not say how much money it had offered.

A full price for the deal is still uncertain, said the FT.

The final value could be somewhere between one billion pounds (1.6 billion dollars, 1.2 billion euros) and 1.5 billion pounds, said the paper, citing a person close to the negotiations.

RBS, 83-percent owned by the British government after being bailed out, has until 2013 to cut its branch network in line with a demand made by the European Commission in exchange for the aid it received in the financial crisis.

© 2010 AFP

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