Wednesday 18 December 2019 2:33 pm

Co-op owners sound out potential buyers

The hedge fund owners of the Co-op Bank are reportedly on the hunt for potential buyers.

Two-and-a-half years after the lender was rescued from collapse, the US investors which took control of the Co-op have started holding talks with possible bidders, according to Sky News.

The broadcaster cited sources as saying that several British retail banking giants have been in discussions with the firm.

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US bank Goldman Sachs has been tasked with helping to sound out buyers, but a formal sale process has not yet begun.

The syndicate of hedge funds are understood to be pushing to speed up a sale, Sky News reported, while the Co-operative Bank’s board is keener on a more patient stance given its five-year turnaround plan has yet to bear real fruit.

In November the Co-op reported widening losses for the third quarter of this year, with half of those losses stemming from a £60m charge over the mis-selling of payment protection insurance (PPI).

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The Co-op has also faced pressure from an increasingly competitive mortgage market, where a price war has eaten into profits in the banking sector.

In 2013 the group was on the brink of collapse, having revealed a £1.5bn black hole in its accounts.

The Co-op declined to comment.