NatWest to sell off Equity Partners

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The Independent Online
NATIONAL WESTMINSTER Bank has agreed to sell NatWest Equity Partners, which manages the bank's private equity portfolio, to its management for an undisclosed sum.

The sale is the first of a series of disposals being undertaken by NatWest in an attempt to fight off rival bids from the Bank of Scotland and the Royal Bank of Scotland.

The more valuable part of the private equity business, the portfolio of private equity investments, will be sold separately, but NatWest Equity Partners will continue to manage the assets. The holdings, expected to fetch around pounds 500m, are understood to have attracted considerable interest from private US equity funds.

David Shaw, the chief executive leading the buyout said yesterday: "The agreementgives our employees the opportunity to share directly in the future of a respected and successful player in private equity.

Sir David Rowland, the NatWest chairman said the deal would enable the bank to proceed with the secondary placing of the portfolio.