Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is in talks to sell off its 50% stake in Tesco Personal Finance to the UK supermarket in a deal that could be worth up to £1 billion, according to press reports.
Citing "a source close to the discussions", UK free sheet City AM says a sale would be beneficial to both JV partners as it would help the beleaguered bank raise much-needed revenue while enabling Tesco to take complete control of the business
Tesco Personal Finance offers insurance products, credit cards, loans and mortgage products. Last year the venture entered the crowded online price comparison market with the launch of a motor insurance Web site, Tesco Compare.com.
The venture was established in 1997, with RBS providing the necessary banking licence, but it is thought the bank may continue to offer the same services on a contractual basis, says the City AM report.
The latest speculation follows news last week that RBS is looking to sell off its insurance arm, which includes Direct Line and Churchill, for up to £10 billion.
Financial services union Unite has called for urgent talks with the bank over fears of job losses.
Graham Goddard, deputy general secretary, Unite, says: "Last week the workforce of the bank heard news of the possible sale of the insurance division and the news today about a possible sale of Tesco Personal Finance and Mentor will cause further anxiety and uncertainty for the employees."