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Spain's Sabadell asks Goldman Sachs to find buyer for Britain's TSB: sources

MADRID/LONDON (Reuters) - Spanish bank Sabadell has asked Goldman Sachs to find a buyer for its loss-making British lender TSB, two sources told Reuters on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: A sign is displayed outside a branch of the TSB bank in central London March 12, 2015. British challenger bank TSB has received a takeover approach from Banco Sabadell, valuing the business at about $2.6 billion and sending its shares soaring by nearly a quarter. REUTERS/Neil Hall

One of the sources said that the process was already underway and that Goldman Sachs, which was hired by Sabadell in July to explore options, had now been instructed to sell TSB, which its Spanish owner bought in 2015.

Sabadell and its bigger rival BBVA said on Friday they had called off merger talks, with Sabadell saying it would now analyse strategic alternatives for its international assets, including TSB, without elaborating.

Both Sabadell and Goldman declined to comment on TSB.

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

A second source familiar with the matter said that apart from the outright sale process there were “more options” on the table, and a potential “spin-off” was also a material option.

“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 investment firm Alantra said of the collapse of talks with BBVA.

While several Spanish banks ventured abroad in search of higher revenues, Sabadell’s purchase of TSB was marred from the start by major technology glitches.

Before entering into formal negotiations with BBVA in November, Sabadell was focusing on an efficiency plan both in Spain, with 1,800 job cuts, and at TSB.

Sabadell expects TSB to break even in 2021 after an 84 million euro loss in the third quarter.

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

Reporting by Jesús Aguado and Pamela Barbaglia; Editing by Ingrid Melander, Louise Heavens and Alexander Smith

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