Royal Bank of Scotland, the 81% taxpayer-owned bank, will take its first step toward privatisation in the next few months when it announces the winning bidder for 316 of its bank branches. The branches are being sold as part of the conditions for RBS' bailout in 2008.
It won't be straightforward: the branches were originally supposed to be bought by Santander, but the deal fell through last October when Santander said integrating the branches' IT system with its own would be too difficult.
RBS has apparently narrowed down bidders - which are originally understood to have included Virgin Money and a joint offer from buyout firms Apollo Management and JC Flowers - to three.
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