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RAB increases stake in Northern Rock

RAB Capital, a Northern Rock shareholder, has increased its interest in the bank to 7.59%.

The hedge fund manager has been instrumental in bringing about an Extraordinary General Meeting of Northern Rock shareholders, which will be held on 15th January.

The meeting will give both RAB and SRM, another hedge fund shareholder, an opportunity to voice their opinions over the progress of the sale of the bank.

The two hedge funds will also use the meeting to introduce a resolution that could give shareholders the right to vote on any proposal to sell more than 5% of Northern Rock’s assets, or issue 5% of new shares.

Since the run on the bank in September, Northern Rock is estimated to have borrowed at least £26 billion from the Bank of England.

The Treasury has also guaranteed the bank’s retail deposits and some of its wholesale debt obligations.

The combined debt and guarantees leave the UK taxpayer with liabilities of around £57 billion.

The slow pace of resolving the bank’s future means that the threat of nationalisation remains, although RAB, SRM and three other shareholders are reported to be supporting a proposal by the investment firm, Olivant, which aims to acquire a 15% stake in the bank and install a new management team.

Virgin Group, which at one point was named preferred bidder, is still in the running and is proposing a full takeover.

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