Spain's Sabadell mandates Goldman Sachs to sell its British unit TSB - source

MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish lender Sabadell has given Goldman Sachs a mandate to sell its loss-making British unit TSB, a source aware of the arrangement told Reuters on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: Sabadell bank's logo is seen at an ATM machine outside one of the bank's branches in Madrid, Spain, November 17, 2020. REUTERS/Juan Medina

The source said that the process was under way and that Goldman Sachs, which had been hired by Sabadell in July to explore various options, had now been tasked with the sale of TSB.

The source did not provide any more details or a timetable of its planned divestiture.

Both Sabadell and Goldman Sachs declined to comment.

Sabadell and its bigger rival BBVA earlier on Friday announced they had called off merger talks.

Sabadell said in a press release after the merger talks were called off that it would now analyse strategic alternatives for its international assets, including TSB, which it bought in 2015, without elaborating further.

Spanish investment firm Alantra said “selling TSB will be complicated as Sabadell might be perceived as a forced seller, whilst Sabadell looks too small to compete in retail with top banks in Spain.”

Spanish banks, such as Sabadell, had gone abroad in search of higher revenues, though Sabadell’s 2015 purchase of TSB has been marred by major technology glitches.

Before entering into formal negotiations with BBVA earlier in November, Sabadell was focusing on an efficiency plan both in Spain, with a reduction a 1,800 jobs, and its British unit TSB.

Sabadell has said it expects TSB to break even in 2021 after booking a loss of 84 million euros in the third quarter.

As a part of its new strategy to focus on Spain, which will be spelled out in the first quarter of 2021, Sabadell said on Friday that it would extend and transform its efficiency programme in its home market.

Reporting by Jesús Aguado; additional reporting by Pamela Barbaglia in London; editing by Ingrid Melander and Louise Heavens