Spain's Santander said it pulled out of a deal to buy 316 UK branches from Royal Bank of Scotland as there was no chance of the deal completing by the end of this year and it was unwilling to extend the deadline again.

The troubled deal had already been delayed, and Santander UK said in a statement the transfer of the business would not be achieved by an agreed final deadline of February 2013 and it was not willing to agree a further extension.

"In that case, the agreement will automatically terminate in accordance with its terms and the transfer of the Business to Santander UK will not take place," it said.

(Reporting by Steve Slater)