NBNK suspends shares ahead of possible deal

 
City A.M. Reporter
NEW banking venture NBNK Investments suspended its shares yesterday as it confirmed it was in talks that could lead to its maiden acquisition.

However, the bank declined to name its target, despite sources yesterday confirming that it would look to buy the UK operations of National Australia Bank.

“There can be no certainty that a transaction will be forthcoming. Further announcements will be made in due course,” NBNK said in a statement.

NBNK was set up last year by former Lloyd’s of London insurance chairman Lord Peter Levene and it raised an initial £50m through a stock market flotation.

Striking a deal with NAB UK would give it more funding to buy the 630 Lloyds branches currently on the market.

Sources with knowledge of the matter have listed NBNK, Sun Capital Partners and The Co-Operative Group’s banking arm as the front-runners for the Lloyds branches, which could fetch about £2.5bn.

Both Lloyds and rival Royal Bank of Scotland have been ordered by regulators to sell assets following government bailouts.