Linklaters and Slaughters lead as Santander scraps RBS branches buy

Linklaters and Slaughter and May have advised as Santander pulls out of a £1.65bn deal to buy 316 branches from the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).

Linklaters corporate partner Simon Branigan is leading the magic circle firm’s team for longstanding client RBS, which has been working on the sell-off for two years since the European Commission called for the bank to offload the branches by the end of 2013 as a condition of the £45bn it received in state aid.

Slaughters advised Santander, with corporate partner Andrew Jolly leading alongside corporate head and relationship partner Frances Murphy.

RBS said in a statement on Friday (12 October) that Santander had informed the bank it would be exiting the deal to buy 316 branches, covering RBS’s branch business in England and Wales, the NatWest branch business in Scotland and certain small and medium-sized business and corporate activities.

Press reports indicated Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Money and US private equity group JC Flowers were likely to table bids following Santander’s decision.

CEO Stephen Hester said: “RBS will commence a new process of disposal and will provide a further update on this in due course.”

Background to this deal:

Santander agreed to the deal in August 2010, with Slaughters advising it and Linklaters leading for the seller (3 August 2010).

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