Blackstone and Wellcome tie up for RBS branch bid

BUYOUT firm Blackstone and charity the Wellcome Trust have launched a joint bid for bank branches being sold by Royal Bank of Scotland.

The bid from Blackstone and the Wellcome Trust, a charitable foundation which manages a £13bn investment portfolio, brings the total number of offers for the RBS branches to five.

RBS declined to comment, while Blackstone and the Wellcome Trust could not immediately be reached.

RBS, 84 per cent government-owned after taking state aid during the financial crisis, is selling 318 of its branches so the bailout complies with European Union rules. The branches are being sold under the Williams & Glyn brand, and are expected to fetch more than £1bn.

The other bidders for the RBS branches are Spanish lenders Banco Santander and BBVA, National Australia Bank and Virgin Money, part of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group.

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