The struggling Co-op Bank has confirmed that it is in “advanced discussions” with existing investors, in a last-ditch attempt to secure a deal and prevent the bank collapsing.
The 145-year-old lender had said previously that it needed £750 million to plug its capital shortfall, but said on Monday that it was in talks with Blue Mountain Capital Management, Cyrus Capital Partners, GoldenTree Asset Management and Silver Point to agree a deal that would require them to put in less.
The bank, in which the Co-operative Group still has a 20 percent stake, has never fully recovered from the financial crisis and was bailed out by a group of hedge funds in 2013. It was then forced to offer itself for sale in February after it was unable to reach a strong enough balance sheet to satisfy Bank of England regulations.
Alongside confirmation of the talks with existing investors, the bank also said it was still considering a sale. Whilst the statement made no mention of the interested parties, Qatari conglomerate Al Faisal Holding and Swiss investment firm Interritus are known to have hired advisers from Barclays to work on a joint bid for the business.
The failure to come to an agreement and secure funding will mean action from the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), putting the Co-op Bank in resolution to protect it 1.4 million current account customers.
The bank has reported an annual loss every year since 2013, despite the £477 million deficit for 2016 being an improvement on the £610 million loss seen in 2015.