Santander pulls out of talks to buy Williams & Glyn – again


SANTANDER has pulled out of talks to buy Williams & Glyn from the Royal Bank of Scotland for the second time.

Reports suggest negotiations have collapsed over the price of the deal, although the price RBS was seeking is unknown.
Santander made an offer of £1.65bn for the W&G branch network in 2010 only for the deal to fall through two years later over fears of its making its IT system work effectively would be too pricey.

Talks resumed earlier this year and Santander tabled a bid in August, but discussions have now been terminated.

RBS has been told to sell small business specialist W&G – with 300 branches – by the end of 2017 in order to meet European state-aid rules after its bailout in 2008.

between the pair resumed earlier this year, with Santander submitting a bid last month, but the discussions have now dissolved.

After the first talks with Santander collapsed in 2012, RBS a year later received a £600m bond investment from a group led by Corsair Capital and the Church Commissioners designed to help divest the business.

RBS, in which taxpayers own a 73% stake through UK Financial Investments, scrapped plans to float the business on the stock market earlier this year in favour of once again selling it to a rival.

Then, RBS had already spent £1.4bn attempting to set up an IT system for the business.

RBS’s outdated computer systems have been one of the biggest hurdles to divesting the branches.

A Financial Times source said that Santander remained “keen” to own Williams & Glyn, signalling a deal may be revived at a later date.

RBS and Santander have not commented.