Virgin Money to make second Northern Rock bid

Virgin Money will put in a second round bid to buy nationalised bank Northern Rock, a shareholder has said.

Billionaire investor Wilbur Ross, one of the biggest shareholders in Richard Branson’s high street lender, said the bid would be submitted tomorrow.

Northern Rock was fully nationalised three years ago but the government has said it wants to find a buyer for its good assets – stripping out the toxic mortgages currently held in a “bad bank” – this year.

"We are big investors in Virgin Money, Richard Branson's company, and we are backing Virgin in their bid for Northern Rock," the chairman and chief executive of WL Ross told Reuters in an interview during a trip to Tokyo.

"We are actually putting in the bids tomorrow. Tomorrow European time."

Lord Levene’s new high street bank NBNK, headed by Northern Rock’s former chief Gary Hoffman, is also expected to table a bid for bank.

Final offers for the bank have to be submitted this week.