Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC attempted to acquire Monzo Bank Ltd. around two years ago but balked at the British digital bank's price tag, The Daily Telegraph reported, citing sources.
RBS would have had to pay a "very big number" for Monzo, which is now valued around £2 billion, a source aware of the talks said. The company ultimately decided that it was cheaper to develop its own digital bank, Bó, which is on track to launch in November, the paper said.
The informal offer was "never seriously considered" by Monzo, with the digital firm's CEO Tom Blomfield "dismissive" of the British high-street bank's approach, another source close to the talks said.
The talks, which are believed to have been held before RBS revealed that it was building its own digital app, mark the first time a big British banking institution made such a move for a challenger bank, highlighting the threat posed by startups such as Monzo and Revolut Ltd. to major banking firms, the Telegraph noted.