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JC Flowers seen exiting N. Rock race

A sign of a Northern Rock branch is seen in London November 26, 2007. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

LONDON (Reuters) - U.S. buyout firm J.C. Flowers has withdrawn from the auction process to buy ailing British bank Northern Rock NRK.L, a person familiar with the matter said on Friday.

The buyout firm found it “impossible” to construct a deal that would deliver required value for Northern Rock shareholders alongside its own profitability criteria, the person said.

He said Flowers remained interested in Northern Rock and it could re-enter talks if the auction process stumbles. That would be based on a proposal made in mid-November, which included an offer to the bank’s shareholders at a “nominal value”.

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