Barclays arrived in Spain exactly 40 years ago, in 1974. Following years of growth that saw it become Spain’s fifth-largest bank and the biggest foreign lender in the country, the British group now wants out.
The economic crisis and some bad investment decisions are behind this move. From 2011 to September 2013, Barclays Spain has lost €681 million. Madrid executives received an ultimatum in 2012, and two years later it looks like London has run out of patience.
Some executives feel that if the bid is not up to Barclays’ expectations, it will not sell
Market sources say that Barclays is looking for an investment bank to find out the potential purchase price a competitor would pay. Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley were named as the best-placed investment banks to carry out this mission.
Some executives feel that if the bid is not up to Barclays’ expectations, it will not sell.
A preliminary survey suggests that Spain’s three largest banks might be interested in the most profitable part of the business: wealth management. Sabadell and Bankinter might also show an interest in this division.
But Barclays believes it might be more profitable to get rid of the entire Spanish unit: after the latest layoffs and closures, it is left with 2,819 employees and 271 branches.