Northern Rock rescue stalled by scale of emergency loans

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Northern Rock has signalled that finding an acquirer will be a long and difficult process, even though few analysts now believe the bank can stay in business without finding a buyer, and at least three have expressed an interest. Discussions have already been held with private equity firms JC Flowers and Cerberus, and with Virgin Money (also with private equity backing). Lloyds TSB remains a contender, even though its initial offer in September foundered on the extent of public guarantees it was demanding. But NR fears its present share price of less than 190p substantially undervalues it, enabling bidders to make aggressive offers that it will have to refuse.

CEO Adam Applegarth remains caught between the Rock and a hard place, since the Treasury is equally concerned to get the bank into n...

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