Corsair group wins fight for RBS’s 314 UK branches‑Reuters

(Reuters) – A consortium led by private equity firm Corsair will pay 600 million pounds ($960 million) to be an anchor investor in 314 branches being sold by Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz).

RBS said on Friday the consortium had won an auction and would take a significant minority stake in the branch network, to be called Williams & Glyn’s, when it lists on the stock market at a later date.

U.S.-based Corsair, with private equity house Centerbridge and other investors including the Church of England’s investment fund and RIT Capital Partners, had emerged as the front-runner for the deal in the past few weeks, seeing off competition from a Blackstone-led (BX.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) consortium and from W&G Investments, a group of investors.

RBS was ordered by European authorities to sell the business, which focuses on lending to small business and has assets of about 20.5 billion pounds, in return for receiving a taxpayer bailout in 2008.

RBS had agreed to sell the branches, dubbed Project Rainbow, to Santander (SAN.MC: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) for about 1.65 billion pounds, but that deal collapsed a year ago.

RBS is reviving the Williams & Glyn’s brand, an old bank name that has been dormant for almost 30 years.

The business has nearly 1.7 million customers, currently employs around 4,500 people and in the future will employ approximately 6,000 people, RBS said.

It has a broad national footprint and has 19.7 billion pounds in loans and 22.2 billion pounds in customer deposits.