Virgin Money Start Search for Initial Public Offering Advisers

Virgin Money Holdings U.K. Ltd., the bank that bought Northern Rock Plc, is starting to search for advisers for an initial public offering, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

The search for banking and legal advisers for the share sale is at an early stage and no shortlist or date has been set, said the person, who requested anonymity because the process is private.

Northern Rock was nationalized in February 2008 after suffering the first run on a U.K. bank in more than a century. Virgin Money agreed to buy part of the bank in November 2011 for an initial 747 million pounds ($1.2 billion) after it had been divided, leaving taxpayers with stakes in Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, Lloyds Banking Group Plc (LLOY) and other mortgage assets.

The government will receive as much as 80 million pounds in cash if Virgin makes a profitable IPO within five years of the 2011 purchase, U.K. Financial Investments, which manages the government’s stake, said at the time.

Billionaire investor Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and WL Ross & Co., a New York-based investment firm, each own stakes of about 45 percent in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, England-based Virgin Money, the company has said.

A Virgin Money spokesman declined to comment. Sky News reported the share sale preparations earlier today.

-- Editors: Jon Menon, Steve Bailey

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