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Abu Dhabi’s Royal Group mulls takeover of SVB’s UK unit

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The Royal Group, an investment firm controlled by a top Abu Dhabi royal, is considering buying the UK arm of Silicon Valley Bank after its collapse last week, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Royal Group, an investment firm controlled by a top Abu Dhabi royal, is considering buying the UK arm of Silicon Valley Bank after its collapse last week, according to people familiar with the matter.

The conglomerate, chaired by United Arab Emirates national security adviser Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan, is discussing a potential takeover through one of its subsidiaries, said the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions are private.

The conglomerate, chaired by United Arab Emirates national security adviser Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan, is discussing a potential takeover through one of its subsidiaries, said the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the discussions are private.

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No final decision has been made and bids may not be submitted. Representatives for Royal Group did not immediately respond to a request for comment outside normal business hours.

Other companies are also said to be exploring bids. Clearing bank London Banking Group plc said in a statement on Sunday that it had submitted a formal proposal to the Treasury, the Bank of England and the board of SVB UK.

OakNorth, the SoftBank Group-backed lender, is in detailed talks over a takeover offer, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The turmoil at Britain’s Silicon Valley Bank is spilling over to the country’s tech sector, sparking concerns among start-ups and venture capital firms concerned about not being able to secure funding from the lender. Although small compared to the UK’s biggest banks, the bank plays a huge role in the start-up world, describing itself on its website as “the bank of choice for founders, entrepreneurs and investors Partner”.

The possible takeover by Sheikh Tahnoon’s firm underscores Abu Dhabi’s growing financial clout in global deals and revives memories of 2008, when the Gulf region’s wealthiest monarchy stepped in to buy Western banks such as Citigroup shares.

Sheikh Tahnoon’s profile has risen in recent years, becoming the most powerful business figure in Abu Dhabi’s royal family. In addition to being chairman of Royal Group, he also oversees wealth fund ADQ and lender First Abu Dhabi Bank PJSC. Last week, he was named chairman of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, the emirate’s $790 billion wealth fund.

The Financial Times reported earlier that an unnamed Middle Eastern buyer had expressed interest in buying SVB UK.

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