Full float for RBS bidder W&G may ‘take two years’

Picture: Getty
Picture: Getty
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A FULL stock market listing for W&G Investments, which is in the auction for 316 Royal Bank of Scotland branches and joins the junior market today, could be delayed for more than two years, The Scotsman has learned.

It comes as W&G also said in a regulatory filing linked to its listing on the AIM market that the sale could be delayed beyond the two-year schedule.

Sources said the banking consolidation vehicle, fronted by former Tesco finance director Andrew Higginson, was unlikely to look at any float on the primary market for an extended period because, even if successful in its bid, it would not get operational control for more than two years.

“A full float is a long way down the line,” an insider said. “The assets W&G and the two rival consortia are going for do not currently exist as a separate entity. It does not have a banking licence or IT platform.”

In its filing linked to the AIM float, W&G said the proposed deal was complex, adding: “It is possible that separation will not be achieved within the two-year period currently contemplated by Royal Bank of Scotland Group.”

A source said, however, that it was “still an exciting time now, with a decision expected by RBS shortly. W&G is still the only party with a full bid for the business.

“The other two [the private equity houses AnaCap and Corsair] are only offering to buy minority stakes”.

W&G has reportedly offered £1.1 billion up front, plus a further £400 million paid out of the business’s profits at a later date.