November 23, 2014 / 7:53 PM / 3 years ago

Italian bank Intesa eyes UK's Coutts International: FT

A man stands outside a building as people use Intesa Sanpaolo automated teller machines (ATMs) in Milan October 1, 2013. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

(Reuters) - Italy’s retail bank Intesa SanPaolo (ISP.MI) is looking at a possible bid for Coutts International, the wealth management arm of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L) , the Financial Times reported.

Intesa is trying to persuade RBS to sell the whole of Coutts, along with the prized UK business, whose customers include Queen Elizabeth, the newspaper said, citing a source. (on.ft.com/1zfa6ga)

Coutts, which is expected to be worth about $1 billion, was put up for sale by RBS in early August.

The Italian bank found Coutts’ assets the most interesting among the available options, the FT said, citing people close to the bank.

The UK-based bank recently hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) to seek buyers for Coutts.

Julius Baer BAER.VX , the Swiss private bank, expressed interest in Coutts in September.

Intesa, which is planning to expand in UK, is looking at asset managers, insurers and private banks as options, the bank’s chief executive Carlo Messina told the newspaper in an interview.

Intesa, Coutts and RBS could not be immediately reached for comment.

Reporting by Rishika Sadam in Bangalore; editing by Andrew Roche

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