NATIONAL Australia Bank (NAB) rejected a bid by Hugh Osmond’s Sun Capital for its UK assets before entering into its current talks with NBNK Investments, it has emerged.
A source familiar with the situation said that the bid, which was around £2bn, was made in the last few months but did not go anywhere.
NAB is now in talks with NBNK, the buy-out vehicle set up by Lord Levene, over the sale of Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank, its UK business.
Despite NAB talking down the possibility of a UK exit, City A.M. understands that the bank has met with a range of potential City investors over recent weeks, though it is only known to be in takeover talks with NBNK.
The revelation that Sun Capital bid on the NAB assets underlines the dilemma facing both Sun and NBNK, both of which are also bidding for the 632 branches that Lloyds is selling.
The Lloyds branches would deliver a 4.6 per cent market share of the personal current account market. But the Independent Commission on Banking (ICB) has recommended that they be sold to a firm that can deliver a greater market share overall.
Co-operative Group, the third Lloyds bidder, already has retail deposits with which it could combine the branches, an advantage that Sun Capital and NBNK both currently lack.