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Co-op Bank reveals takeover approach by unnamed party | Co-operative Group


The hedge fund-owned Co-operative Bank has received a takeover approach, adding to a growing list of UK lenders rumoured to be changing hands during the pandemic.

The bank did not name the potential bidder or disclose any terms, only saying that it had received an approach from a “financial sponsor with knowledge and experience of investing in European financial services businessesregarding the possibility of a sale of the bank and/or the holding company.”

The lender is owned by a group of US hedge funds – including Silver Point Capital, GoldenTree, Anchorage Capital, Blue Mountain and Cyrus Capital – as well as Invesco, which took full control from the Co-operative Group after launching a £700m rescue deal in 2017. Together they own 85% of the bank, with the remainder held by a range of undisclosed institutional investors.

The hedge funds have been involved with the bank since 2013 when it had to be rescued after a £1.5bn hole was discovered in its accounts.

Its reputation later suffered a severe blow when the bank’s former chairman Paul Flowers – dubbed the “crystal Methodist” – pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine, crystal meth and ketamine in 2014.

News of the potential bid adds to a list of potential takeovers in the UK banking sector, including Sainsbury’s Bank which was recently approached by NatWest Group.

Sainsbury’s said on Tuesday: “We have received some very preliminary expressions of interest in the bank, but this does not mean anything will come of these discussions. Our management team remains focused on delivering the plan.”

There are also rumours about the future ownership of TSB, after news broke this week that its owner Sabadell is in merger talks with Spanish rival BBVA.



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