Rumors abound of possible Barclays-Standard Chartered merger

Reports of a possible merger between Barclays and rival Standard Chartered have emerged, with recent talks occurring between the leadership of these two financial institutions. On Wednesday, May 23, the Financial Times cited two anonymous sources who have confirmed the merger is under discussion. But no bids—whether formal or informal—have been made.

When asked by CNBC, Barclays declined to comment on the potential merger.

Additionally, two separate unnamed sources have been cited by Reuters, denying the rumor that Barclays would merge with another financial institution.

Meanwhile, according to Standard Chartered, it’s currently “focused on executing our strategy, and [does] not comment on this type of speculation.”

However, an article in the Financial Times said that a director from each of the financial institutions recently met together for the specific purpose of talking about the advantages a merger would bring to them. 

Barclays has been seeking to better its financial performance, and the meeting with Standard Charter was one of the endeavors towards this aim.

Reuters reported a week ago that one of Barclay’s activist investors, Sherborne, has been putting pressure on Barclays to decrease its investment banking unit, which has not been performing well.

Sherborne, is one of Barclays biggest shareholders, with a five percent stake in the financial institution.