RBS to sell celebrity rehab clinic the Priory

ROYAL Bank of Scotland has begun the sale of the Priory Group, the rehab clinic best-known for treating celebrities, in a deal the bank hopes could raise about £1 billion, sources said yesterday.

• Celebrities such as Amy Winehouse have raised the profile of the Priory Picture: Getty Images

RBS, which is being advised by Rothschild investment bank, is understood to have given bidders until mid-September to submit indicative offers. Private equity groups are thought to be frontrunners to take over Priory, whose proposed flotation was abandoned by the Scottish bank earlier this year.

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Sources said that those interested include Advent International, Bain Capital, Blackstone Group, the Carlyle Group, Cinven and KKR.

RBS declined to comment. A Priory spokesman also declined to comment, saying the group was "focused on the day-to-day running of the business".

The private equity firms either refused to elaborate or were not available for comment. Royal Bank recently sold 300-plus branches to Santander of Spain for 1.65bn as part of its radical restructuring.