JC Flowers, an alternative asset manager headed by former Goldman Sachs banker Christopher Flowers, is competing with rival US firm Cerberus in the race for beleaguered Northern Rock.
According to reports, both firms have been given access to Northern Rock's books. JC Flowers is understood to be considering an approach that would keep the bank together. Cerberus, on the other hand, plans to break up the lender and divide the assets.
Pricing is believed to still be a long way off.
Both Cerberus and JC Flowers have experience in the banking sector. Cerberus has an interest in Aozora Bank in Japan and bought Austrian bank Bawag for EUR 2.3bn in December 2006. Christopher Flowers is best known for turning around the bankrupt Shinsei Bank, known at the time of the purchase as Long Term Credit Bank, within five years of a US$1.2bn acquisition from the Japanese government.