RBS Sells Big Chunk of Insurer Direct Line Group for $1 Billion

In keeping with the European Union's "mandated disposal strategy," Royal Bank of Scotland (NYSE: RBS  ) has sold 300 million shares of U.K.-based Direct Line Insurance for approximately $1 billion, RBS announced today. Direct Line sells personal and business insurance products from its offices in the U.K., Italy, and Germany.

Following the sale, RBS now owns 427.4 million shares of Direct Line, equal to 28.5% of its outstanding shares, according to its statement. RBS intends to fully divest itself of Direct Line ownership by the end of 2014, the company said.

The sale of Direct Line shares marks RBS's third ownership reduction in the past year, having sold 34.7% of its holdings in October 2012, the company said, and another 16.8% stake in March of this year.

RBS said it intends to use proceeds from the sale of Direct Line shares for general corporate purposes.

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