By Marcus Leach

Blackstone, the American private equity group, is believed to be considering a £1 billion bid for the Northern Rock bank.

Last week Chancellor George Osbourne confirmed that he would be looking to return the bank to the private sector after the government nationalised the bank in 2008.

Blackstone, who are headed by billionaire Stephen Schwarzman, saw a similar move in America for BankUnited reap massive rewards. BankUnited collapsed during the recession in 2009, only for a consortium including Blackstone to buy the bank and eventually float it on Wall Street.

However, Blackstone's interest in Northern Rock may cause concern for some critics of private equity who believe the focus is too short termed.

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