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Spain’s Santander rumoured to be interested in NAB’s UK assets

Spanish banking giant Banco Santander SA (MCE:SAN) is actively considering a GBP2bn (USD3.2bn/EUR2.4bn) offer for the UK assets of National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX:NAB), the Sunday Times reported citing knowledgeable sources.

The newspaper was told that Santander executives had been weighing a move on NAB’s Clydesdale and Yorkshire banks since October, when Santander UK failed to negotiate a deal for the 316 branches put on sale by Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc (LON:RBS). However, NAB has yet to receive an offer from Santander, the sources added.

According to the Sunday Times, NAB has come under pressure to ditch its loss-making UK business. However, Clydesdale and Yorkshire banks have their attractions for a potential buyer. The two lenders have established themselves in the small business and corporate lending sectors in Scotland and northwest England.

The newspaper said further that Santander UK would have no problem financing the deal. Its parent provided it with GBP4.5bn for the RBS transaction and the money is still in possession of Santander UK.

Ana Patricia Botin, CEO of Santander’s UK subsidiary, would not comment for the Sunday Times on its reported interest in NAB’s UK operations. Botin said that her company was focused on further expansion and was presently aiming to achieve that through organic growth.


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