Metro Bank Said to Add Snyder to Board, Pick IPO Banks

  • Metro said to appoint Goldman, BofA, Royal Bank of Canada
  • Chairman Hill seeking to beat growth of Commerce Bancorp

Metro Bank Plc appointed Michael Snyder to its board and hired investment banks as it targets an initial public offering valuing the company at more than 1 billion pounds ($1.5 billion), a person with knowledge of the matter said.

The London-based lender, backed by American financiers and property tycoons including Steven A. Cohen and Richard LeFrak, hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Bank of America Corp.’s Merrill Lynch and Royal Bank of Canada to handle a share sale next year, people familiar with the matter said. Officials at all of the banks declined to comment.

Chairman Vernon Hill, 70, is pushing for Metro to beat the growth of Commerce Bancorp Inc., the New Jersey-based firm he started with one outlet in 1973 that was sold to Toronto-Dominion Bank 34 years later for $8.5 billion. He’s expanding into some of the world’s most expensive real estate, opening branches across the south-east of England while the U.K.’s four biggest lenders shutter operations.

Snyder, a former chairman of the City of London Corporation’s policy and resources committee who is senior partner of accountancy firm Kingston Smith, joined as a non-executive director as the bank adds to its board in preparation for an IPO, said one of the people who asked not to be identified because the details are private. He couldn’t be reached for comment via a call to his office at Kingston Smith on Friday.

Board Members

Other members of the board include Howard Flight, a Conservative member of the House of Lords, former Friends Provident chief executive officer Ben Gunn and Roger Farah, co-CEO of Tory Burch LLC.

Hill held talks with U.S. investors who flew to the U.K. to visit Metro branch-opening events over the summer, a separate person with knowledge of the IPO preparations said. The company’s management team has met U.S. and European investors ahead of a share sale in more recent weeks, the person said.

Metro raised about 615 million pounds in four private fundraisings since it was started in 2010, Hill said in an interview with Bloomberg in April. Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Royal Bank of Canada handled the most recent fundraising in January 2014.

In previous interviews with the British press, Hill had discussed IPO plans for 2012 and 2014. He said in April he’s still keen on a share sale, now in 2016, the “next time we need to raise capital.”

Metro reported a 94 percent increase in customer deposits to 3.8 billion pounds at the end of June from the same point a year earlier, while total lending increased by 90 percent to 2.2 billion pounds. The company reported a loss of 8 million pounds for the second quarter. Hill has said Metro aims to become profitable next year.

Sky News reported the investment bank appointments earlier.

(An earlier version of this story was corrected to show Snyder is no longer chairman of City of London Corporation policy and resources committee.)

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