Bids hit float of Direct Line

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Plans to float Royal Bank of Scotland’s insurance giant Direct Line on the stock market could reportedly be derailed by a private equity bidding war.

The bank has been ordered to sell its insurance arm, whose brands include Churchill and Green Flag, after taking a 
£45 billion government bail-out and had been expected to float the business in the second half of 2012.

But two consortia of private equity firms are said to be planning rival bids, which would scupper a flotation in what is gearing up to be “the takeover battle of the year”.