Higginson heads bid vehicle for 316 RBS branches

FORMER Tesco bank chairman Andrew Higginson has rallied a consortium of blue-chip institutions to table a bid for 316 Royal Bank of Scotland branches.

The latest round of formal offers will close on Thursday after a deal to sell the branches to Santander last year fell through.

Higginson, who was also Tesco’s finance director, is said to have secured up to £1.3 billion from investors including F&C, Invesco Perpetual and Schroders. If successful, Higginson is expected to become chairman of the new bank, with plans to hold the branch network in a listed vehicle.

Shaun Doherty, a former IT and operations director for Tesco Bank, is also expected to join the venture in a similar capacity.

Other bidders also understood to be in the race include Corsair Capital, which is working with US private equity firm Centrebridge Capital, and a rival private equity team comprising JC Flowers and Apollo.

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But RBS admitted last month that it was not confident a sale would be successful. It is also working on contingency plans for a flotation of the business.