Slaughter and May leads on Santander acquisition of RBS branches

Slaughter and May and Linklaters are advising on Santander’s purchase of 318 high street branches from the Royal Bank of Scotland, mainly in the north west of England.

Slaughters corporate partner Roland Turnill is leading for Santander, alongside corporate head Frances Murphy. Longstanding adviser Linklaters is acting for RBS, with corporate partner Simon Branigan leading the deal.

The transaction, which could be valued at up to £2bn, would give the Spanish bank the fourth largest network of branches in the UK, after Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays and RBS.

The deal is the latest in a string of disposals by RBS, which is also selling its Global Merchant Services (GMS) division – featuring its WorldPay computerised payment business – to a private equity consortium featuring Advent International and Bain Capital.

Linklaters is again acting for RBS, with relationship partner Matthew Middleditch at the head of affairs. Advent and Bain turned to Weil Gotshal & Manges private equity heavyweight Marco Compagnoni to seal the estimated £2.5bn deal, which is expected to close imminently.

Clifford Chance and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer were on board for rival private equity suitors Permira and Warburg Pincus respectively on an initial auction for GMS, before the Advent consortium emerged as preferred bidder.