Santander abandons talks to buy 300 RBS branches

Santander has reportedly pulled out of talks to buy more than 300 branches from Royal Bank of Scotland '“ for the second time.

RBS has to offload its Williams & Glyn business by the end of next year. Picture: John Devlin

State-backed RBS has to offload the branches by the end of next year as a condition of the £45 billion bailout it received at the height of the financial crisis.

The Edinburgh-based group had been planning to float off the business under the old Williams & Glyn brand, but has now focused its efforts on sealing a trade sale.

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Santander abandoned a £1.65bn deal for the branches in 2012, before returning to the negotiating table earlier this year. However, it has been reported that talks with Santander have broken down because of a disagreement over the price of the Williams & Glyn branches.

RBS last month reported a loss of £2bn for the first half of the year, compared with a £179m loss a year earlier, after being hit by extra restructuring costs and an increased bill for mis-sold payment protection insurance.