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Barclays Bank nears sale of iShares division

It has been confirmed that Barclays Bank is in advanced exclusive discussions with private equity house CVC regarding the sale of its iShares division. In a complex deal which is thought to be worth around £3 billion it looks as Barclays Bank will be selling off all but the most profitable stock lending operation - although 70% of the purchase price could be met by a loan from Barclays itself though the company would share in future profits.

While the figure of £3 billion being mentioned is less than the £4.5 billion suggested just last week, the reduction is seen as the difference between the stock lending operation and the rest of the business. The move should allow Barclays Bank to escape the clutches of the UK authorities and the toxic asset insurance scheme which has been in the headlines for some time.

Even though there is little sign of a substantial recovery in the UK financial sector, the very fact that CVC is even contemplating a transaction of this size should offer at least a modicum of confidence. It will be interesting to see how and when the deal is finalised and the impact this has on the Barclays Bank share price and the sector as a whole.

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