Speculation over the sale of BankWest by its UK parent has ramped up with National Australia Bank Ltd reportedly in talks with JP Morgan and others over forming a consortium to break up HBOS.
Without citing any sources, the UK's Daily Telegraph reported that JP Morgan is understood to have held talks with an Australian bank, thought to be NAB, and has approached private equity firms in relation to a bid.
JP Morgan could act as the adviser to the group and also provide financing for the bid and pick up some assets, the newspaper reported.
Speculation of a HBOS sale has been fueled by the company's disastrous ₤4 billion rights issue where 92 per cent of its shareholders passed up on the offer which was underwritten by Morgan Stanley and Dresdner Kleinwort.
The financial certainty surrounding the UK company has prompted speculation in Australia that BankWest could be sold to replenish HBOS' capital, with several Australian banks, including the National Australia Bank and the Commonwealth Bank, looking like potential bidders.