This Friday in the UK, troubled bank Northern Rock was offered a lifeline by a consortium assembled and led by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group. The group submitted a plan which would involve “a substantial cash sum… [being] injected” in a bid to save the bank, according to published reports.

Under the proposal, Northern Rock would be able to keep its stock market listing, however it would have to be re-branded as Virgin Money.

The consortium led by Virgin includes insurance and investment groups like AIG, Toscafund, and First Eastern.

Virgin has not made it clear how much cash it intends to invest in the plan, however Northern Rock has so far borrowed £13 billion in emergency funds from the Bank of England. Anyone looking to take over the bank would have to be able to pay this back.

The Virgin-led takeover may however face competition. Speculation has risen that private equity group JC Flowers and Cerberus are planning to break up Northern Rock. However there has been no confirmation as of yet that this is the case.