Barclays will listen to offers for BGI: report

An old Barclays Bank sign is seen in central London February 8, 2009. REUTERS/Andrew Parsons

LONDON (Reuters) - British bank Barclays Plc BARC.L is willing to listen to offers for its entire asset management arm, Barclays Global Investors (BGI), a newspaper reported on Sunday.

A Barclays spokeswoman declined comment on the report in The Sunday Telegraph.

Barclays said on Thursday it had agreed to sell its iShares asset management business, which sits within BGI, to private equity firm CVC Capital Partners for 3 billion pounds ($4.42 billion), but kept the right to hunt for a better deal for two months.

Barclays said it expected a net gain of 1.5 billion pounds on the deal, boosting its capital at a time when lenders are being encouraged to build up a cushion to prepare for rising bad debts.

Unlike several of its British rivals, Barclays has avoided resorting to British government aid to overcome the global financial crisis.

An unusual “go-shop” clause allows Barclays to seek a better offer for iShares until June 18.

The Sunday Telegraph said that, as part of this “go-shop” clause, Barclays “has indicated its willingness to listen to offers for Barclays Global Investors.”

The report quoted “people close to Barclays” as saying the bank would “consider, rather than solicit” interest in the whole of BGI -- the bank’s San Francisco-based asset management arm.

The newspaper said analysts believed bids for BGI, including iShares, would need to be in the region of at least 8 billion pounds to persuade Barclays’ board of the merits of selling the business.

Reporting by Adrian Croft; Editing by Matthew Jones