Branson taps up Blackstone in Northern Rock swoop

The multi-billionaire British entrepreneur has had his eye on Northern Rock since the infamous run on the bank which kicked-off what we now know as the ‘credit crunch’ in 2007.

He wants to buy the non-toxic part of the chain – unaffected by the sub-prime mortgage crisis, known as “good bank” – which recently spun out of the state-owned business and could be worth £2bn.

Branson has already taken steps towards founding his new chain. As Real Business reported last week, Virgin Money is the proud owner of small British retail bank Church House Trust.

He bought the business, which has no branches and only 3,000 customers, to secure a banking license, giving Virgin the legal right to sell financial products such as loans, mortgages and savings accounts.

Virgin Money is just one of a number of bidders for Northern Rock’s good assets. Others include National Australia Bank, which owns the Yorkshire and Clydesdale banks, and Spanish banking behemoth Santander.

According to a source speaking to the Telegraph newspaper, Virgin needs a trade partner with experience of running a bank in order to complete a deal.

Related article:Branson moves into banking

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