US PRIVATE equity giant Blackstone is in line to receive an information memorandum on Northern Rock, making the firm one on a short list of potential buyers for the nationalised lender when it is auctioned later this year.
A source familiar with the matter told City A.M. that Blackstone will request the memorandum, due to be sent out in the next few weeks, which will detail what assets are to be sold in the first step towards tabling a possible bid for the bussiness, expected to fetch around £1bn.
However, the source cautioned that Blackstone looks at many deals every year and that the process is in very early stages.
Blackstone has been named before as a possible buyer of the Rock before the financial crisis, when it was said to be considering a tie-up with Virgin Money. But it is understood that this time around, Virgin sees itself as able to swallow Northern Rock without help and would only seek a partner to buy the 632 Lloyds branches on sale.
Should an appropriate suitor for Northern Rock fail to materialise, the government has not ruled out a float, but is at present only actively pursuing a sale. UKFI and Blackstone declined to comment.