Lloyds Banking Group shares rose Monday after a report in the London Evening Standard that the part-state-owned bank had received a "multibillion" pound bid for its Scottish Widows insurance unit.
The report said the bid comes from Duke Street Capital, a private equity group founded by Edmund Truell. Last month, the Sunday Times reported the fund would seek a listing on the London Stock Exchange as part of a longer-term plan to raise capital and potentially bid for banks, asset managers and insurance companies.
Lloyds shares rose more than 1 percent from a session low of 30.6 per share to change hands at 31.56p per share immediately after reports of the story were repeated on various social media outlets. Shares were little-changed on the day at 31.22 by 1415 GMT.
A spokesman for Lloyds, which is 40 percent own by the UK government after its 2008 rescue, told the IBTimes that "Scottish Widows remains a core part of the Lloyds Baning Group". He declined to comment directly to "market speculation".
Scottish Widows Investment Partnership, the fund management arm of Scottish Widows, manages around £54bn in equity assets and around £143bn overall. Earlier this month is said it would cut around 70 percent of so-called "active" fund managers in the equity business unit an attempt to boost performance. Twenty seven jobs were expected to be lost from a team of 38, although four new hires in the group would bring the net job losses to 23.
Last week, the Financial Times reported that Lloyds had received a £2bn bid from NBNK Investments for more than 600 of the Group's branches. Lloyds is being forced to sell the branches as part of the European Unions conditions for allowing the British government to provide state aid. NBNK was set up by Peter Levene, a former executive of Lloyds of London and is run by former Barclays and Northern Rock boss Gary Hoffman.
Lloyds is due to report first quarter earnings figures on Tuesday.
*Editor's note: an earlier version of this story mis-stated the size of Scottish Widows asset base at £54bn in total.