RBS Sempra sale derailed by bank laws

Steve Dinneen
Follow Steve
PRESIDENT Barack Obama’s proposed changes to US banking legislation could have derailed the sale of RBS Sempra to JP Morgan Chase.

The banking giant is now only interested in buying the branches of the company that operate outside of the US.

The two are now working on a deal that could see RBS sell its 51 per cent stake in the venture back to its partner Sempra Energy. That would allow JP Morgan to unravel the company and only buy its European operations.

Obama’s changes would outlaw bankers running their own trading operations, making Sempra, which deals heavily in proprietary trading, unpalatable for JP Morgan.

An RBS spokesman said “constructive discussions” regarding the sale of RBS Sempra were still under way, but declined to comment further.

RBS Sempra is among the assets that RBS, 84 per cent state-owned after a series of taxpayer-funded bailouts, was ordered to sell to comply with European Union state aid rules.

JP Morgan entered exclusive talks to buy the business, expected to fetch about $4bn (£2.5bn), late last month.

RBS Sempra chief executive Kaushik Amin resigned on Friday, and has been replaced by co-chief executives Mike Beck and Michael Goldstein.

RBS’s Global Merchant Services, which includes the RBS WorldPay business, has also attracted significant interest from buyout firms. RBS WorldPay is the largest payments processing firm in Europe and the fourth biggest globally. Apax, Advent International, TPG and Permira are said to be interested.