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Virgin eyeing Northern Rock deal


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Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group is planning to take a majority stake in Northern Rock, the BBC has learned.

 

Under the plans, Northern Rock would keep its stock market listing but be rebranded as Virgin Money.

 

According to BBC business editor Robert Peston, Sir Richard is putting together a consortium of investors to take a majority stake in the troubled bank.

 

Both Virgin and Northern Rock declined to comment, but Robert Peston said Virgin would deliver an update soon.

 

Earlier on Friday, Northern Rock shares rose as much as 6% on rumours of a possible deal, but had settled back to stand up 1.25p at 259.25p in late morning trade.

 

Financial Support

 

Our business editor says that if the deal went ahead, the business would be run by Jayne-Anne Gadhia, a Virgin veteran who has been working with Sir Richard on developing a mortgage business for him.

 

However, he warns that any deal would be dependent on the government continuing to financially support Northern Rock.

 

"There are, of course, big obstacles, not least of which is that Northern Rock has now borrowed £13bn in emergency funds from the Bank of England - with the loans underwritten by the Treasury - and all of that would have to be refinanced by any successful bidder," he says.

 

Refinancing the loan in current market conditions would be "too difficult" for any buyer should Treasury support be withdrawn immediately on completion of the deal.

 

Bd battle?

 

However, any bid from Virgin could face opposition from a number of possible rival suitors.

 

Reports have suggested US private equity group JC Flowers has set aside £15bn ($30.6bn) to buy the bank.

 

Further speculation also suggests that JC Flowers and rival Cerberus are planning to break up the firm and buy its lucrative home loan book.

 

Meanwhile, hedge funds SRM Global and RAB Capital have taken stakes in the firm, fanning hopes that the business may be taken over as a going concern.

 

Northern Rock ran into trouble last month when it was forced to call on the Bank of England for an emergency loan as it ran into funding problems as a result of the global credit crunch - which began in the US.

 

Northern Rock was particularly hard hit because it borrows an unusually large proportion of the money it lends to homebuyers from other banks.

 

The Virgin group pushed into the financial services sector in 1995 and now offers credit cards, insurance, savings and pensions.

 

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7041083.stm

 

Wonder if that would mean we could soon be sporting the 'Virgin' brand all over our shirts? ;)

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Taking it out of north-east control and shedding loads of jobs in the region? Shame. Bye bye Northern Rock Foundation too I expect.

 

Fuck that, support your postie :unsure:

 

I found myself in the Metrocentre the other day because of the posties, gave me the chance to support a real north east company, the Rock. Seen RM vans all over the place as well, all driven by smiling happy bastards. Taking the absolute Micheal Owen.

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Taking it out of north-east control and shedding loads of jobs in the region? Shame. Bye bye Northern Rock Foundation too I expect.

 

Nah, if you read the press release from Virgin, they intend to keep the foundation running as it is. Hopefully everyone would keep their jobs too. Branson was on Look North yesterday an'all.

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Taking it out of north-east control and shedding loads of jobs in the region? Shame. Bye bye Northern Rock Foundation too I expect.

 

Nah, if you read the press release from Virgin, they intend to keep the foundation running as it is. Hopefully everyone would keep their jobs too. Branson was on Look North yesterday an'all.

 

noh aye - and they'll be nice to old ladies and kids as well

 

TBH the Rock is a real cash generating machine even now - £ 500 mm a year profit and they'll buy it for £ 300 mm

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Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group is planning to take a majority stake in Northern Rock, the BBC has learned.

 

Under the plans, Northern Rock would keep its stock market listing but be rebranded as Virgin Money.

 

According to BBC business editor Robert Peston, Sir Richard is putting together a consortium of investors to take a majority stake in the troubled bank.

 

Both Virgin and Northern Rock declined to comment, but Robert Peston said Virgin would deliver an update soon.

 

Earlier on Friday, Northern Rock shares rose as much as 6% on rumours of a possible deal, but had settled back to stand up 1.25p at 259.25p in late morning trade.

 

Financial Support

 

Our business editor says that if the deal went ahead, the business would be run by Jayne-Anne Gadhia, a Virgin veteran who has been working with Sir Richard on developing a mortgage business for him.

 

However, he warns that any deal would be dependent on the government continuing to financially support Northern Rock.

 

"There are, of course, big obstacles, not least of which is that Northern Rock has now borrowed £13bn in emergency funds from the Bank of England - with the loans underwritten by the Treasury - and all of that would have to be refinanced by any successful bidder," he says.

 

Refinancing the loan in current market conditions would be "too difficult" for any buyer should Treasury support be withdrawn immediately on completion of the deal.

 

Bd battle?

 

However, any bid from Virgin could face opposition from a number of possible rival suitors.

 

Reports have suggested US private equity group JC Flowers has set aside £15bn ($30.6bn) to buy the bank.

 

Further speculation also suggests that JC Flowers and rival Cerberus are planning to break up the firm and buy its lucrative home loan book.

 

Meanwhile, hedge funds SRM Global and RAB Capital have taken stakes in the firm, fanning hopes that the business may be taken over as a going concern.

 

Northern Rock ran into trouble last month when it was forced to call on the Bank of England for an emergency loan as it ran into funding problems as a result of the global credit crunch - which began in the US.

 

Northern Rock was particularly hard hit because it borrows an unusually large proportion of the money it lends to homebuyers from other banks.

 

The Virgin group pushed into the financial services sector in 1995 and now offers credit cards, insurance, savings and pensions.

 

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7041083.stm

 

Wonder if that would mean we could soon be sporting the 'Virgin' brand all over our shirts? :unsure:

 

Would be a bit inappropriate if we got fucked every weekend though. ;)

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