Sainsbury’s Bank, which began more than two decades ago as a joint venture between the retailer and Bank of Scotland before Sainsbury’s took full ownership in 2014, has been the target of “some very preliminary” approaches, bosses said in short statement, but stressed that nothing concrete had emerged.
The banking division has been at the centre of speculation for some time. Last week Sky News reported that Royal Bank of Scotland parent NatWest Group was circling.
In response to what it called “media speculation”, Sainsbury’s said: “We set out a clear five-year plan for Sainsbury’s Bank at our capital markets day in September 2019 and confirmed this plan as part of our interim results and strategy update on 5 November 2020.
“We are on track to deliver that plan despite the impact of Covid-19 and expect to deliver a profit in the second half of this financial year.
“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.”
Meanwhile, the Co-operative Bank revealed that it is also in preliminary discussions with a financial sponsor over a non-binding offer.
“The bank has recently attracted an approach from a financial sponsor with knowledge and experience of investing in European financial services businesses regarding the possibility of a sale of the bank and/or the holding company,” it said in a statement to the stock exchange.