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Government reduces stake in NatWest in £1.26bn share disposal

Nick Cheek
Written By:
Nick Cheek
Posted:
Updated:
22/05/2023

The Government has sold around £1.26bn of Natwest shares, reducing its stake to approximately 38.6 per cent.

This marks the move to return the bank to private ownership 14 years after it was brought under the control of the government to protect its financial position after the 2008 global financial crisis. At its peak, the Government held an 84 per cent stake in the bank. 

This is the sixth block sale and was conducted via a directed buyback agreement.  

Last month, the Government announced that the plan to return NatWest to private ownership had been extended by two years with a closing date of August 2025. 

It was originally meant to be released from Government ownership in August of this year. 

The Government said it will only dispose of its share in NatWest when it represents value for money for the taxpayer and market conditions allow. 

UK Government Investments and HM Treasury will consider other options to dispose of its shares, including an accelerated bookbuild which is when shares are offered to the market for a short period of time with little to no marketing. 

Andrew Griffith, economic secretary to the Treasury, said: “Today’s sale is another major milestone in returning NatWest to full private ownership as promised. The Government has now sold well over half of its shareholding.” 

NatWest was one of the nation’s big banks which were bailed out by the Treasury during the financial crisis in 2007-8.