A CONSORTIUM led by the former head of online bank First Direct is preparing a £1bn bid for 316 branches being sold by Royal Bank of Scotland.
Alan Hughes is working with a group comprised of private equity firms Blackstone and Anacap, which plans to make an offer for the branches as an unofficial deadline looms this week.
The bank is being forced to sell off the branches under the terms of its 2008 bailout. RBS had previously planned to sell the branches to Santander but the Spanish bank dropped out last year after several years of negotiations.
Other bidders for the estate – known as project Rainbow – include a group led by US private equity firm Corsair Capital and a consortium of City institutions known as W&G Investments, which is being led by former Tesco executive Andy Higginson.