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NatWest (NWG) Signs Agreement to Acquire Sainsbury's Bank

NatWest Group plc NWG has announced an agreement to acquire the retail banking assets and liabilities of Sainsbury’s Bank plc. This acquisition aligns with the company's growth strategy, adding scale and boosting its market presence in competitive areas.

Paul Thwaite, NatWest Group CEO, highlighted the transaction as a strategic opportunity to expand the bank's retail banking business, especially in the unsecured personal lending and credit card sectors. The company aims to leverage its expertise and digital banking capabilities to offer enhanced services to the new customer base.

Transaction to be Accretive to NWG Earnings

The acquisition includes approximately £2.5 billion in gross customer assets, divided into £1.4 billion in unsecured personal loans and £1.1 billion in credit card balances, alongside around £2.6 billion in customer deposits. Further, the deal is expected to bring an additional 1 million customer accounts to NatWest.

The acquisition is projected to adversely impact NatWest’s Common Equity Tier 1 (CET1) ratio by 20 basis points upon completion (anticipated by Mar 31, 2025). The deal is expected to be accretive to earnings and return on tangible equity.

NatWest plans to complete the transaction through its subsidiary, National Westminster Bank plc, under Part VII of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000. The process requires court and regulatory approvals. The bank has a strong integration track record and aims to ensure a smooth transition for Sainsbury’s Bank customers.

Under the agreement, at completion, the gross customer assets and liabilities and related cash will be transferred to NatWest, and Sainsbury’s will pay the company a £125 million fee for assuming the assets and liabilities.

Divestiture Rationale and Deal Exclusions

Sainsbury’s decision to divest its banking unit is part of a broader strategy to refocus on its core retail business. By offloading the banking division, Sainsbury’s aims to streamline operations and concentrate resources on delivering quality and value in its primary market.

The acquisition does not include the operational infrastructure or commission income businesses of Sainsbury’s Bank, such as ATMs, insurance and travel money services. Additionally, Argos Financial Services remains outside the transaction’s scope.

These exclusions allow Sainsbury’s to retain some financial services operations while divesting its core banking division.

Conclusion

NatWest’s plan to buy Sainsbury’s Bank’s retail banking assets represents a significant strategic expansion. The deal is designed to enhance the company’s market position.

In the past three months, shares of NWG have surged 24.6%, substantially outperforming the industry’s growth of 0.6%.

Zacks Investment Research
Zacks Investment Research


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Currently, NatWest carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

In a similar move, in February, Barclays BCS announced a deal to acquire Tesco's TSCDY retail banking business for £600 million. The acquisition includes Tesco-branded credit cards, unsecured personal loans, and deposits, totaling approximately £8.3 billion in unsecured lending balances.

This move will complement Barclays UK's existing business and strengthen its position in the market by tapping into Tesco's extensive distribution channels and customer loyalty scheme.

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