DUBLIN, July 27 State-backed British lender
Royal Bank of Scotland has been formally advised by
Morgan Stanley to sell a majority stake in its Irish
unit, Ulster Bank, Ireland's Sunday Business Post reported.
RBS commissioned the investment bank earlier this year to
advise it on potential merger opportunities for Ulster Bank, the
biggest bank in Northern Ireland and the third largest in the
Republic of Ireland
An announcement could be made as early as next week and
could trigger a formal bidding process, the Sunday Business Post
said, without quoting any sources.
RBS said on Friday that attracting private equity firms to
inject cash into its Irish arm was one of several options it was
considering as part of a restructuring of Ulster Bank.
The Irish Examiner said last week that RBS was considering
selling Ulster's operations in the Irish Republic to a private
equity firm in a proposed deal that would leave in place the
current management team under Chief Executive Jim Brown.
RBS chief executive Ross McEwan told reporters on Friday
that the bank was looking at the opportunities it had for Ulster
Bank and would be in a position to discuss them "probably in the
next two or three months."
An RBS representative declined to comment on the Sunday
Business Post report.
(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Additional reporting by Matt
Scuffham in London; editing by Keiron Henderson)