Buyer close to sealing MBNA deal

Private equity firm Apollo Global Management LLC is said to be close to sealing a deal to buy Bank of America’s Irish credit card portfolio.

Private equity firm Apollo Global Management LLC is said to be close to sealing a deal to buy Bank of America’s Irish credit card portfolio.

According to a number of business publications, Apollo Senior Managing Director, Marc Rowan confirmed that his company was “about to buy” the Irish credit card business of a bank from which the firm had previously bought a Spanish credit card business at a Citigroup’s financial services conference last week. Although he did not explicitly mention Bank of America, it is thought that he was referring to the purchase of the business based in Co Leitrim as Apollo was the company which bought Bank of America Corp’s Spanish credit card business last year.

Bank of America currently employs approximately 650 people in its Carrick-on-Shannon base, of these approximately 200 are employed in the Irish market and the remaining staff serve the UK credit card market. Discussions are said to be ongoing in relation to finding a buyer for the UK credit card arm and it is unknown what will happen to the vast majority of jobs in Carrick-on-Shannon or whether, the Irish credit card arm jobs will actually be retained in Carrick-on-Shannon.

When contacted about the sale, a spokesperson for Bank of America said that they “do not comment on speculation”.

Securing jobs must be focus

Fine Gael Deputy, Frank Feighan, has stressed that the focus must remain on retaining jobs in Co Leitrim as part of any proposed sale.

“I am aware there is much speculation regarding potential bidders for MBNA, much of which is being instigated by the financial press at home and abroad. However, I want to repeat here again, that the priority regarding any outcome is to secure not just the long-term future of the facility but to protect jobs,” he told the Leitrim Observer.

To read the full story see this week’s Leitrim Observer.