Barclays Still Entertaining Suitors for iShares

Barclays Plc and CVC Capital Partners may have already agreed to a $4.4-billion deal for Barclays’ iShares funds business, but Barclays apparently is still entertaining offers, according to Reuters.

A Reuters news report said the April 9 agreement gave Barclays the right to keep looking for suitors for its iShares business despite the bid from CVC, a private equity firm, until June 18 (see “CVC Capital Partners Wins Barclays iShares Bid’).

Reuters reported comments from a Barclays spokesman that there had been “tremendous” interest in iShares from “both strategic and private equity” since the CVC deal. The Sunday Times newspaper indicated buyout firm BC Partners has lodged a 3.5-billion-pound bid for iShares.

The Daily Telegraph said on its Web site Sunday that Barclays has at least two counteroffers for iShares, with private equity groups Apax, BC Partners, and Hellman & Friedman all looking at trumping the CVC proposal.

The Sunday Times said BC Partners’ move was expected to tempt other suitors into the bidding. The Times said other bidders could include trade rivals such as Charles Schwab as well as other buyout firms, such as Colony Capital, the private equity group.