Branson buys nationalised northern rock

2011-11-17 13:05

London – British mortgage lender Northern Rock, which was at the heart of the 2008 banking crisis, has been bought by entrepreneur Richard Branson for £747 million (R9.6 billion), the government announced today.

The takeover of the Newcastle-based bank, which was taken into public ownership in February 2008, is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

Virgin Money is a banking network set up by Branson, who also owns Virgin Airlines. Branson failed in a previous bid to buy the bank following its collapse.

George Osborne, Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, welcomed the deal.

“It’s also good for British taxpayers – we are getting some of the money back that we put into the banking system under the last government.”

Northern Rock, which was brought down by risky mortgage lending, was bailed out by the Labour government of Gordon Brown after getting into trouble at the end of 2007.

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