Abu Dhabi Investment Authority has been named as an investor backing Virgin Money in its bid for 632 branches of UK high street bank Lloyds, according to a report.
The emirate's sovereign wealth fund, which has assets in excess of $600bn, could be the necessary ingredient to ensure Richard Branson’s company launches a successful tender, The Telegraphy daily said on Saturday.
According to reports, the ADIA is one of five investors backing the project, along with Carlyle, General Atlantic and the Universities Superannuation Scheme.
Virgin, which is already bidding for another high street bank in the UK, Northern Rock, will have to forfeit a minority stake for each of its investors if the deal is successful.
It is understood that Lloyds is being forced to sell its branches as a result of a European competition ruling.
Rumors of Virgin Money’s involvement came about after Citigroup and JP Morgan, who are conducting the sale of the Lloyds branches, said they had remained in contact with Virgin during the auction process.
In recent weeks, the group leading the deal, the Project Verde, is also thought to have presented the details of Lloyds’ business model to Virgin's management team.