Abbey go-ahead for N&P bid

Abbey National plans to launch a formal bid for National & Provincial Building Society in four week time after yesterday's "very positive and constructive" meeting with the society.

Abbey said that N&P would hand over an information pack giving confidential figures on arrears, repossessions, staffing levels and other confidential information this week.

The society will continue talking to Abbey as the latter prepares a formal offer, which the N&P board will either accept or reject in May.

Abbey was enthusiastic about the results of the talks while N&P was more non-committal. Only three people attended the 90-minute meeting in a London hotel; Abbey's chief executive, Peter Birch, and N&P's Alistair Lyons and his information technology director.

Mr Lyons said afterwards: "I was surprised that Peter's ideas were not as specifically formed as I was expecting. For instance, what place will N&P business have within Abbey?

"What is the value of N&P to Abbey - just its branches and assets, or its customer franchise? This is important. The ball is in his court."

Mr Lyons added that N&P was in active discussions with other potential bidders. These included institutions that lacked a personal finance distribution network, he said.

Yesterday's discussions followed Abbey's surprise announcement last week that it wanted to reopen bid talks with the UK's ninth-largest building society which stalled a year ago. Abbey said it was prepared to pay N&P's 1.7 million members "a substantial premium to net asset value".

This fuelled City comment that Abbey was preparing the firsthostile bid for a mutal building society.

Yesterday an Abbey spokesman said: "The talks show that we have moved away from any hint of a hostile approach."

N&P made an official announcement saying: "Alistair Lyons made it clear to Mr Birch that N&P retained an open mind about the Society's future strategic direction and that the Board's guiding principle was to act in the best interests of N&P's members."

"All relevant options would be examined carefully by the Board, which would make its recommendations known when it had completed its evaluation."

City analysts said that now was a good time for societies to sell up and get a good price if they wanted to, since there were many institutions, particularily banks, with plenty of spare capital.

There also many firms eager to get into or expand their mortgage businesses.

Hugh Pye, an analyst with BZW commented: "N&P seem to be saying; 'We're not going to be rushed into anything. If Abbey National does want to buy us, it will have to pay a very full price'.

"There is also a risk, which is to Abbey National's advantage, that every society member has a price. People seem to have £500 in mind."

N&P was forced to suspend opeing new savings accounts last Friday aftter thousands of customers deposited millions of pounds in the hope of a cash windfall if Abbey's approach succeeded.

The move was made after discussions with the industry regulator, the Building Societies Commission.

N&P will launch new savings accounts this week offering similar rates of interest but not allowing these customers to vote on an acquisition or receive a payout.

Abbeys shares ended the day down a penny at 464p, after enjoying a run last week.

Teeth should be brushed twice a day to prevent tooth decay
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
footballChelsea 6 Maribor 0: Blues warm up for Premier League showdown with stroll in Champions League - but Mourinho is short of strikers
Those who were encouraged to walk in a happy manner remembered less negative words
Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Helpdesk Analyst

£23000 per annum + pension and 22 days holiday: Ashdown Group: An established ...

Senior Helpdesk Analyst / Service Desk Co-ordinator

£27000 per annum + pension, 22 days holiday: Ashdown Group: An established ind...

Senior Pensions Administrator

£23000 - £26000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Corporate Actions Administrator / Operations Administrator

£25 - 30k: Guru Careers: A Corporate Actions Administrator / Operations Admini...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London