Barclays to Wrap Up iShares Bidding

Private equity consortiums pursuing Barclays' iShares investment unit have until Sunday to submit binding bids, unnamed sources told Reuters.

According to Reuters, a source indicated that a consortium, including San Francisco-based Hellman & Friedman and London headquartered Apax Partners, plans to submit a bid of around $5 billion. The Hellman & Friedman-led consortium entered into talks for iShares before other parties, the sources said, and is seen as a frontrunner by others, despite a recent widening of interest in the company.

Analysts and media reports have variously put the value of iShares — the index-tracking investment arm of Barclays Global Investors — at between $4.3 billion to $7.2 billion.

A deal could be concluded next week, before the Tuesday deadline to join the British government-backed scheme designed to protect bank assets against potential future losses, according to Reuters.

Barclays said it does not need to raise any fresh capital after Britain’s Financial Services Authority subjected the bank’s finances to “a detailed stress test”.

Fund company The Vanguard Group and Goldman Sachs are also pursuing iShares, according to media reports.