NBNK considering bid for Clydesdale Bank
New bank NBNK is believed to be considering a bid for Clydesdale and Yorkshire banks after it was announced that the two banks will undergo a strategic review.
The review, by parent company National Australia Bank, could lead to Clydesdale and Yorkshire banks being sold or floated on the stock market.
NBNK has not confirmed the takeover rumours, saying in a statement “We continue to assess a number of opportunities.”
NBNK was formed by Lord Levene and a consortium of senior business figures in 2010 with the aim of building a large UK retail bank by acquiring other banks.
Its CEO, Gary Hoffman, helped to restabilise and restructure Northern Rock after it collapsed in 2007 and had to be bailed out by the UK government
NBNK’s focus will be on its customers, initially in retail and small business banking, with a move into wealth management possible at a later date.
Its initial attempt at establishing a foothold in the UK banking sector, through the purchase of 632 branches being sold by Lloyds Banking Group, failed after The Cooperative Bank’s bid was accepted last month.
The Co-op’s bid, which was believed to be worth around £1m, was accepted because it was believed to offer a smoother transition than selling the branches to NBNK.
NAB is expected to complete its review of Clydesdale and Yorkshire banks by May.
There is speculation that investment group Sun Capital Partners and private equity firm JC Flowers could also be interested, if the banks are eventually offered for sale.
Meanwhile, Clydesdale has announced plans to tighten its business lending criteria in order to boost its performance.
The decline in margins and earnings at the bank, which helped to prompt NAB’s review, has been partly attributed to lower returns from business lending.