The Memo: Nationwide and Virgin Money: the biggest UK banking deal since 2008?

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Nationwide and Virgin Money: the biggest UK banking deal since 2008?

Erin Bradbury - 18 March 2024

It’s definitely way too early to be thinking about end of year highlights, right? However, even though spring is just barely upon us, it looks like Nationwide’s proposed £2.9 billion acquisition of Virgin Money will be one of 2024’s most memorable moments. After all, it is set to be the largest UK banking deal since the 2008 financial crisis. The announcement follows on from Barclay’s announcement that it was buying the majority of Tesco Bank for £700 million.

To understand the scale of this proposed union, Nationwide has more than 17 million customers and holds one in 10 of the UK’s current accounts. Virgin Money, meanwhile, has a total lending of £72.8 billion and about 6.6 million customers. In the face of rocky economic growth, some analysts believe this transaction could increase competition within the mortgage and savings market. So, the result of this potential acquisition would be a combined total asset of £366.3 billion, which would in turn create the second largest mortgage and savings provider in the UK. Nationwide has stated that Virgin Money would remain a separate entity with its own board and banking license for the time being but plans to gradually integrate it once the acquisition is completed.

We've got some familiar names attached to this deal, with Slaughter and May and Clifford Chance splashing the headlines for their work on the proposed acquisition. Slaughter and May is here acting for Nationwide, while Clifford Chance is representing Virgin Money.