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Botin family to launch an IPO

Banking group Banco Santander, managed by the Botin family for 115 years, is to launch an initial public offering of its UK unit sometime in the second half of 2011, said the bank.

Ana Patricia Botin, daughter of chairman Emilio Botin, is to oversee the IPO. She took over as chief executive of Santander UK in December last year, following the exit of former head Antonio Horta-Osorio.

Emilio, a prominent figure in Spain, has been involved with Santander for the last 25 years and was instrumental in transforming the bank into Spain’s largest bank in terms of market capitalisation. Though the Botin family only hold a 2% stake in the business, they have long been involved in the running of the bank. Seventy-six-year-old Emilio is the third family member to serve as chairman, succeeding his father Emilio Botín y Sanz de Sautuola in 1986.

With daughter Ana managing the UK operations, speculations are rife that she may succeed her father as chairman of the banking operations. Though there are other contenders to the top position, experts say that if she is successful with the sale of the UK unit, it would further cement her eventual succession to the top job.

Reports in the press say that the Spanish bank plans to sell around 25% of its UK unit, but when contacted, the bank would not confirm any specifics.

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