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Wilbur Ross Buys a European Bank

December 13, 2012 | About:

One of the more famous distressed debt investors in the world has taken a stake in NBNK Investments (NBNK).

Billionaire investor Wilbur L. Ross plans to buy up to 37.8% of NBNK. Initially, he will buy about 21.3 million shares in NBNK for 39 pence each, the company said in a statement today. At a later date, NBNK will make a tender offer to investors for a further 18.9 million shares at the same price.

Essentially, NBNK is a shell company that Ross will use to make further investments in European banks. Ross said, "Given the turmoil in financial services, very few companies can get access to public capital markets so we feel a company like NBNK that is listed and has supportive shareholders will be attractive for a number of companies."

Ross is a well-known distressed debt investors with a proven track record. He scooped up distressed steel companies for pennies on the dollar and made a name for himself.

Once the deal takes effect, Ross will become chairman. Shares popped 15% on the news.

Rating: 4.0/5 (4 votes)


Vgm - 4 years ago    Report SPAM
To be clear, NBNK Investments is NOT in itself a bank, as your title states. That's misleading. It owns nothing. It was unsuccessful in bidding for some 650 Lloyds Bank branches earlier this year, and was in the process of being wound down until Wilbur stepped in.

It's purely an empty shell entity which he intends to use as a vehicle to place banking assets from around Europe. Invesco already is the major holder of NBNK with a 30% share. The shares did pop 15% earlier, but ended the day 3.8% up.

He claims not to have any particular ideas in mind, but is sure there will be many opportunities. He's been talking with Spanish banks for a year, as mentioned in a Bloomberg interview posted here on GuruFocus yesterday.

Reuters covered the NBNK story this morning:


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