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Report: RBS now looking to sell smaller portion of Williams & Glyn biz

Having received no interest for its entire Williams & Glyn operations, Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc is now looking to sell a small portion of the business, Bloomberg News reported Dec. 15, citing a "person with knowledge of the matter."

The U.K. government, which holds a majority stake in RBS, has asked the European Union to approve this change of plan, two people told the news agency. The lender is supposed to sell the entire unit by 2017-end to comply with a European Commission directive.

There are no potential suitors for Williams & Glyn's six NatWest outlets in Scotland, Bloomberg said, citing one of its sources.

CYBG Plc, which made a preliminary nonbinding proposal for the acquisition of Williams & Glyn in October, does not want to include business customers with more than £25 million in revenue in the deal because such accounts are hard to transfer, another person reportedly said.

In November, Banco Santander SA, which had previously made two attempts to acquire the more-than-300-branch network, returned to the negotiating table, although its latest offer was reportedly still only a fraction of Williams & Glyn's £1.3 billion equity value.

RBS is also considering alternatives such as shutting down the unit, Bloomberg said, citing "two people with knowledge of the matter."

A spokeswoman for RBS noted that the lender was making progress in reaching a solution with regards to its state-aid obligations.