NBNK shares suspended amid merger talks

| September 6, 2011 | 0 Comments

Shares in financial institution NBNK has had its shares suspended on AIM after it confirmed it is in merger talks.

The bank, which is run by Gary Hoffman who is the former chief executive of crisis-torn Northern Rock, was established a year ago to make acquisitions and is set to build a significant presence in the UK as a retail bank.

It plans to compete with other High Street banks and said it will focus on “traditional, personalised banking services”.

It was co-founded by Lord Levene, the chairman of Lloyd’s of London, while board members include former Treasury Committee head Lord McFall and Sir David Walker.

Returning to the merger talks, the Daily Telegraph said NBNK is in discussions with National Australia Bank over the takeover of their UK operations and are set to bid for the 600+ branches which Lloyds Banking Group is putting up for sale.

Lloyds is selling the branches under the orders of the European Commission as a punishment of the billions of pounds in state aid that it received by the Government at the height of the financial crisis.

Furthermore, NBNK is said to be eyeing 75 branches from nationalised bank Northern Rock but is banned from making a bid for the lender until November 1, because of Mr Hoffman’s appointment.

Meanwhile, in a statement NBNK said that given level of “press speculation” trading in its shares would be suspended until “an admission document is published in relation to an acquisition or the talks otherwise conclude”.

It added that further announcements will be made in due course.

If NBNK and National Australia Bank are successful in their bid for the branches, it would create a new bank with almost 1,000 branches and in excess of £40 billion in deposits.

Antonio Horta-Osorio, the chief executive of Lloyds, is understood to be keen to find a buyer for the business before the end of the year.

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