Lansdowne Partners and GLG – a branch of Man Group, which was last year demoted from the FTSE 100 – are just two of 20 potential buyers considering buying the chunk of the state-backed lender, Sky News said.
Both of the hedge funds were among investors that profited from shorting bank shares in the run up to the 2008 taxpayer rescue of Northern Rock and RBS, which saw the government take an 82 per cent stake in the latter.
The bid currently under consideration would see a new company created with hundreds of millions of pounds of the hedge funds’ investments. This firm would then be publicly listed.
Three private equity groups, including Corsair Capital and Centerbridge, are also said to be in the running to buy the package of branches.
The state-banked lender is required to sell the outlets as a condition of the European Commission’s endorsement of its government rescue. It had originally planned to sell the 316 to Santander for £1.65bn, but the deal fell apart in October.
Lansdowne Partners and RBS could not be reached for comment last night, while GLG declined to comment.