Santander returns to negotiating table for RBS' Williams & Glyn

Hayley Kirton
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About turn? Santander is back for W&G (Source: Getty)

Santander has had a change of heart about Royal Bank of Scotland's Williams & Glyn, tabling a new bid for the bank.

RBS has been told to divest of its interest in Williams & Glyn, and its more than 300-strong branch network, by the end of 2017 as part of its £45bn state bailout deal.

Now, the Times has reported that Santander has put in a fresh bid for the brand, after it was reported to have walked away from the negotiating table earlier this year because of quibbles over price.

However, Santander is not without competition for Williams & Glyn. Clydesdale & Yorkshire Bank confirmed last month it was involved in talks to snap up the bank.

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Santander has had a long-running interest in Williams & Glyn. Earlier attempts to buy the branches, nicknamed Project Rainbow, fell though in 2012 thanks to difficulties with the IT systems involved.

A Santander spokesperson said: "We will continue to analyse opportunities in our 10 core markets where they add value and benefit to our customers and shareholders. That said, we do not comment on rumours or market speculation."

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An RBS spokesperson declined to comment further on the reports. However, at its recent third quarter results, the bank said:

Work has continued to explore means to achieve separation and divestment of the business previously described as Williams & Glyn. RBS has had positive discussions with a number of interested parties concerning a transaction related to substantially all of the business.

RBS had once intended to spin off and float Williams & Glyn, but revealed that plan had been scrapped in its interim results in August. Meanwhile, in its most recent quarterly results, RBS noted it was unlikely to have completely rid itself of the business by the 2017 deadline.

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