According to a source who worked on loan sales at Nama, instructions about sales often came following strategic decisions taken at board level. “Guys dealing with the assets might look at bundling certain loans in a geographical area together into a portfolio, or maybe loans secured on similar assets, or with similar borrowers,” said the source.
Once a decision is taken to sell, the agency appoints sets of sale advisers and legal advisers. Both are drawn from pre-approved panels.
Before the sale, Nama, in conjunction with its advisers, compiles a “data room” of information. Sometimes it is a physical, sealed room, perhaps in Nama’s lawyers’ offices. The data room houses all title and security documents, leases and any other details a bidder might seek. Access is strictly controlled.
The sale adviser compiles a short memorandum outlining basic details of what is for sale. This is sent to potential bidders and middlemen.
In the case of Project Eagle, Lazard, Nama's sale adviser, hand-picked nine potential bidders because the sheer size of the portfolio limited the pool of buyers.
Nama says it selected Cerberus’s €1.6 billion bid “on the advice of Lazard”. Nama sold the portfolio at a steeper than usual discount of 72 per cent and a loss to the agency of €200 million.