Belfast Telegraph

CYBG in talks with RBS over offer for Williams & Glyn branches

The owner of Cydesdale and Yorkshire banks, CYBG, has confirmed that it is has made an offer to buy Williams & Glyn branches from Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).

CYBG says it has held talks with RBS, but stopped short of disclosing the terms of the offer.

In a statement released on Wednesday, CYBG said: "The board of CYBG can confirm that the company has engaged in discussions with RBS and has made a preliminary non-binding proposal to RBS in relation to its Williams and Glyn operations.

"This engagement is ongoing and there can be no certainty that any transaction will occur, nor as to the terms on which any transaction might be concluded."

RBS must offload the Williams & Glyn branches by the end of next year as part of EU conditions linked to its £45 billion bailout at the height of the financial crisis.

Reports suggest that the European Commission could appoint a trustee to oversee the sale if RBS fails to secure a deal.

The taxpayer-backed bank has already spent more than £1.3 billion trying to offload the network, having at one stage planned to spin it off as a standalone bank.

Analysts have since suggested that RBS will fetch less than the £1.9 billion it wants for the business after previous failed attempts to sell the branches.

Santander reportedly walked away from a deal to buy Williams & Glyn last month after failing to agree on price. It was the second time that the Spanish lender ditched talks with RBS.

Laith Khalaf, a senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: " Brexit hasn't exactly improved banking conditions in the UK, and everyone and their dog knows that RBS is a forced seller - which hardly makes for a compelling negotiating position.

"The end result is RBS may have to accept less than it wants for Williams & Glyn, however compared to the scale of misconduct costs RBS is facing in the US, any haircut it takes on Williams and Glyn will probably look like loose change."