NBNK Investments Plc, the investment company backed by U.S. billionaire Wilbur Ross and once led by former Lloyd’s of London Chairman Peter Levene, will close after a six-year failure to acquire European banking assets.
NBNK, created to buy banking assets, will look at the best ways to return unused funds to shareholders and wind up the company, it said in a statement on Monday. WL Ross & Co. owns 29.9 percent of NBNK, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
“Further negotiations with potential targets have not produced an acquisition proposition capable of being recommended to shareholders for approval,” the London-based firm said in the statement. “The directors will provide further updates and information to shareholders as soon as practicable.”
The company raised 50 million pounds ($71 million) in its 2010 initial public offering and planned to gain as much as 6 percent of the U.K. banking market backed by a heavyweight board including Levene and David Walker. NBNK limped on in search of European targets after failing to buy collapsed British lender Northern Rock and losing out on TSB on its approach to buy the Lloyds Banking Group Plc’s network of more than 600 branches.
Winding down the company would end an expensive foray into British banking for its investors, who saw the firm rack up almost 30 million pounds in losses. Former Northern Rock Chief Executive Officer Gary Hoffman ran the company for a period under Levene, who was replaced as chairman by Ross in 2012. The private-equity executive then stepped down and his employee Stephen Johnson managed the firm.