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Spin-out vulnerable to acquisition

RBS hires adviser to push on with Williams & Glyn float

Williams & GlynRBS has hired Bank of America Merrill Lynch to prepare the Williams & Glyn spin-off for flotation, according to City sources.

The bank wants the flotation to take place next year as planned and hopes it can emulate Virgin Money, TSB, Aldermore and Shawbrook who have seen their valuations rise substantially since listing their shares.

It is hoped Williams & Glyn – a resurrected brand comprising a batch of more than 300 RBS/NatWest branches in England – will be valued at about £1.5 billion. However, RBS is not expected to make any money from the exercise as it is spending about the same sum to prepare the IPO.

Some 4,000 staff are engaged in the transition which involves creating a robust IT system.

Chief executive Jim Brown – formerly of Ulster Bank – and chief financial officer Leigh Bartlett, ex-Westpac New Zealand, took up their roles in the past week.

The bank will have some 200,000 small business customers which has made it a particularly attractive target for bigger overseas rivals looking to build in this sector.

These include Spanish bank Sabadell which bought TSB soon after its separation from Lloyds and short-lived listing on the stock market. Spanish rival Santander may also be tempted to add to its business banking offering.

* Worldpay, the payments processing company chaired by former CBI president Sir Mike Rake, is believed to have postponed a decision on whether to proceed with a £6bn flotation.

 

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