Morgan Stanley in running to buy RBS unit

9 June 2010

Morgan Stanley is one of the firms in the running to purchase a gas and power trading business owned by Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS).

RBS has been ordered to divest itself of assets by the European Commission (EC) as a result of the bank receiving a large bailout from the British government.

One of the units which it is looking to get rid of is RBS Sempra Commodities, which is based in North America and is a joint venture with utility group Sempra Energy.

Morgan Stanley is on the final shortlist with Jefferies for the business, which could fetch up to $2 billion, insiders told the Financial Times.

In February, JPMorgan agreed to pay $1.7 billion to purchase RBS Sempra's international oil, metals and European divisions.

Last December, EC competition commissioner Neelie Kroes warned the British bank: "[If] RBS does not deliver on its balance sheet reduction targets by 2013, the commission will be able to intervene again and more divestments will be required."

By Gary Cooper

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