Blackstone In Bid for RBS Branches

LONDON (Reuters) – U.S. private equity group Blackstone (BX.N) and British buy-out firm Resolution (RSL.L) are in the running to join National Australia Bank in a possible bid for more than 300 branches of Royal Bank of Scotland, the Financial Times reported on Friday.

A spokesman for Resolution declined comment. Blackstone could not be reached for comment.

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L), 84 percent state-owned after being rescued by the British government during the financial crisis, is being forced to sell more than 300 branches in England and Wales and NatWest branches in Scotland by the European Union competition body for receiving government support. It has been given up to four years to do so.

A banking source told Reuters last month that National Australia Bank (NAB.AX) and Spanish bank Santander (SAN.MC) could be interested in acquiring RBS branches. (Reporting by Susan Fenton; Editing by Gary Hill)