LONDON — Royal Bank of Scotland PLC Tuesday said that JPMorgan Chase & Co. had agreed to buy non-North American parts of RBS Sempra Commodities, the energy-trading business owned by RBS and Sempra Energy for $1.7 billion.
RBS's share post-partner distributions is approximately 47%, it said.
Sempra Energy later confirmed its participation in the deal, saying its share of the sale proceeds is expected to be about $940 million.
The deal excludes the more valuable North American pieces of Connecticut-based RBS Sempra Commodities, which trades natural gas, petroleum, metals and other commodities. These assets remain for sale.
"We believe we have struck a fair price and contract with JPMorgan," said Bruce Van Saun, RBS group finance director.
"The remaining assets in RBSSC, namely the North American Power and Gas businesses, remain of high value and are performing well. Along with our JV partner, Sempra Energy, we continue to actively consider various ownership alternatives for the remainder of RBSSC," he added.
JPMorgan had been in exclusive talks to buy all of RBS Sempra but earlier this month decided not to pursue the North American operations on concerns that new proposals by President Obama could put a kink into any acquisition, as well as the notion that the North American natural gas- and energy-trading business overlaps with some of the bank's existing operations.
Bids January for all of RBS Sempra came in at more than $4 billion. Bidders included Deutsche Bank AG and Australia's Macquarie Group Ltd. who could now return to bid for the North American business.
However, the likeliest candidate to acquire these assets may now be U.S.-based power company Sempra Energy, which has a 49% stake in the joint venture, according to people familiar with the situation. Deutsche Bank and Macquarie could also jump back into the process.
RBS paid $1.7 billion for a 51% stake in the business in April 2008. The European Union is forcing the U.K. bank to sell its 51% stake in the commodities-trading joint venture as a condition of taking billions in state aid.