LONDON (Reuters) - Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L) has hired Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAC.N) to prepare a spin-off of its Williams & Glyn-branded retail branches in the second half of 2016, a spokeswoman said on Sunday.
The Sunday Telegraph reported, without citing sources, that RBS hoped to value the bank at 1.5 billion pounds and that investment bankers would start meeting investors later this year to discuss the planned float.
RBS was ordered to sell Williams & Glyn, which comprises 314 branches and is focused on lending to small businesses, by European regulators as a condition of its 46 billion pound government bailout during the 2007-09 financial crisis.
It will be a separately licensed bank with about 1.4 million retail customers and more than 200,000 SME customers.
Williams & Glyn must be sold by the end of 2017 but the sale process has been costly and dogged by setbacks, largely related to technology problems. In 2013 RBS sold a 49 percent stake to a consortium of investors led by U.S. private equity firm Corsair.
Reporting by Kylie MacLellan and Steve Slater; editing by Jason Neely