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RBS whittles Sempra suitors down to last 3: report
LONDON (Reuters) - Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L) has narrowed the bidders for its commodities trading joint venture to three and will announce a winner within weeks, the Sunday Times reported, citing sources close to the negotiations.
U.S. bank JPMorgan (JPM.N), Australia's Macquarie (MQG.AX) and Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) are competing to buy the 51 percent stake in RBS Sempra Commodities, which could fetch an estimated 2.5 billion pounds ($4 billion), the newspaper said.
RBS declined to comment.
RBS -- majority owned by the UK government -- is being forced to sell the stake by European competition authorities due to the bailouts it has been given by Britain.
The 20 firms interested in the stake had been whittled down to a handful including Deutsche Bank, a source told Reuters on Thursday.
Its partner U.S.-based Sempra Energy is also considering selling its stake in the venture, according to sources.
RBS paid $1.7 billion in April 2008 for its stake in the business, which trades commodities ranging from oil and natural gas to metals and agricultural products, while Sempra invested $1.6 billion.
(Reporting by Paul Sandle; editing by John Stonestreet)
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