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Competition for Northern Rock takeover

Northern Rock is set to become the focus of takeover speculation over the coming weeks with news that National Australia Bank and Virgin Money appear set to fight it out for the chance to acquire the controversial UK bank. It is no secret that Northern Rock is currently being split in two by the UK government, into a good bank and a bad bank, and the good bank will be sold off to the highest bidder. So who is in prime position to acquire Northern Rock?

There is no doubt that National Australia Bank has a significant influence in the UK already, owning the likes of Clydesdale and Yorkshire bank, but Virgin Money has been the name on the tip of every tongue in the city for some time. Richard Branson has been in the market to expand his financial empire for a number of months and Northern Rock would appear to be potentially a perfect fit for the dynamic entrepreneur.

Both parties have already held "beauty parades" with potential advisors and we should hear more news in the short to medium term, with the UK government likely to want to sell on Northern Rock prior to the election. Whether the government will receive anywhere near the cost of bailing out the bank remains to be seen.

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