Banco Bilbao may back BoS in NatWest battle

BANCO BILBAO Vizcaya, Spain's second biggest bank, has expressed interest in helping out Bank of Scotland in its pounds 26bn hostile bid for NatWest, the high street clearer.

The move raises the prospect of the fight for control of NatWest turning into a proxy battle between Spain's biggest banks. BSCH, Spain's largest bank, has already offered to subscribe pounds 1.2bn to support Royal Bank of Scotland's bid for NatWest.

Peter Burt, the Bank of Scotland's chief executive, has been reluctant to agree to allow BBV to underwrite a cash sweetener for the BoS bid, particularly as with the way the share prices have been moving over the past ten days the Bank of Scotland side is increasingly confident that it is capable of winning control of NatWest on its on own.

Based on last night's closing price the Bank of Scotland offer was worth pounds 15.77 a share, 157p higher than Royal Bank's offer whose see-through value stood at pounds 14.20.

Mr Burt believes that the simplicity of the BoS offer is one of its key selling points when compared with the rival bid from Royal Bank of Scotland which involves both BSCH and CGU, the insurance group tendering for shares. However, BOS may find it harder to resist BBV's offer of help if BSCH were to agree to increase the stake it is prepared to take in the enlarged Royal Bank from 6.5 per cent to somewhere closer to 30 per cent.

BBV took over its domestic rival Argentaria earlier this year. It recently struck a deal with Italy's Unicredito which is intended to lead to a full- blown merger in 2002 and also has its eyes abroad.

Said a well-placed source last night: "As things stand all Bank of Scotland need to do is find some way of bringing forward the pounds 1.20 special dividend and they will have won. However, there is still a possibility that this will go the full two months once RBS tables its offer document. In that case they will need to look at all the options."

The Office of Fair Trading's advice on whether to refer the Royal Bank bid for NatWest to the Competition Commission is understood to be ready to go the Department of Trade and Industry today.

Bankers say that given the steep fall in RBS's share price since the bid was tabled last week, the only way it can recover the lost ground would be for BSCH, its Spanish partner to put in another pounds 850m of cash. The earliest opportunity would be when RBS posts its offer document to shareholders.

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Harry Redknapp. Mark Hughes and Ryan Shawcross
footballNews and updates as Queens Park Rangers host the Potters
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
New Articles
i100... with this review
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
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

Senior BA - Motor and Home Insurance

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

Market Risk & Control Manager

Up to £100k or £450p/d: Saxton Leigh: My client is a leading commodities tradi...

SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £320 - £330 p/d - 6 months

£320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

Head of Audit

To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam