Northern Rock: The Bidding Heats Up

If Chris Flowers thought he was going to have little competition in his quest

to buy Northern Rock, he’s been comprehensively disabused of that notion at

this point. The Virgin bid might sound a bit lightweight (a rebranding to Virgin

Money), but it’s backed by AIG, which gives it serious heft. And now it turns

out that GMAC

has joined the Cerberus bid – not necessarily surprising, given that

Cerberus owns GMAC, but formidable all the same. Against that competition, Flowers’s

bid almost looks like the lightweight of the bunch: he has some first-rate executives

lined up, but less in the way of copper-bottomed financial sponsors. Expect

a fully-fledged takeover battle.

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