10 names in frame to value the Rock

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The Independent Online

Around 10 firms have applied to take on the poisoned chalice of valuing Northern Rock, in spite of the threat of possible legal action, Treasury officials have confirmed.

The initial application process came to a close last Friday, with officials at No 11 said to be "delighted at the level of interest".

A spokesman for the Treasury said: "Around 10 firms have applied for the role of valuer of Northern Rock. We will now invite firms in to make presentations, and a recommendation is expected to be made at the end of July. The final choice is, of course, the Chancellor's."

Applications will be scrutinised by a panel of top City names, including Michael Izza, chief executive of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, the former Lehman Brothers and now Evercore Partnership banker Anthony Fry, Christopher Gardner QC and Louise Tulett, finance director at the Treasury.

Former Northern Rock shareholders will be able to appeal against any decision made by the valuer.

SRM Global, the Monaco- based hedge fund that held an 11 per cent stake in Northern Rock before its nationalisation, has already claimed it would have astrong professional negligence case against anyone taking on the role because of the restrictions placed on the process by the Treasury.

The Treasury was forced to advertise for the role of valuer after soundings taken from leading City firms in the wake of the nationalisation revealed a lack of interest in the position.