Northern Rock rescue stalled by scale of emergency loans

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.

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