Richard Branson’s Virgin Money is set to bid for around 600 of Lloyds bank branches.
Branson has reportedly met with Lloyds chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio on Tuesday and is set to make a formal bid in July.
Speaking to the FT, Branson said: “This can happen quickly and smoothly. We are a serious bidder and can give the government what it wants through competition.”
The move would make Virgin Money the sixth largest bank in the UK. It is understood the Virgin Money chief executive Jayne-Anne Gadhia has already secured financing from US billionaire Wilbur Ross, who spent £100m acquiring a 21 per cent stake in the bank last year.
Virgin Money failed in bid to acquire 318 Royal Bank of Scotland branches in 2010, with Santander eventually snapping them.
Other firm’s though to be interested in the Lloyds branches include National Australia Bank, which owns Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks, and NBNK, the investment vehicle set up by Lord Levene, chairman of the Lloyds of London insurance market.