ING puts Barings asset arm on block

ING, the Dutch bank, has put its UK fund management arm, Baring Asset Management (BAM), up for sale, and is believed to be in advanced talks with a handful of bidders, which are likely to lead to an imminent sale.

ING, the Dutch bank, has put its UK fund management arm, Baring Asset Management (BAM), up for sale, and is believed to be in advanced talks with a handful of bidders, which are likely to lead to an imminent sale.

The bank is thought to have employed JP Morgan, the US investment bank, as its adviser on the disposal of the business, which could raise up to £300m. BAM, which became part of ING in 1995 when the Dutch group bought the troubled Barings Bank, has assets under management of about £18bn.

It was the only part of the Barings business to be kept intact, after the Dutch group rationalised the business in 2000, culling thousands of jobs.

However, BAM has continued to struggle to make an impression in the increasingly competitive UK market in recent years, sparking ING's move to sell it finally.

BAM said yesterday it would "not comment on market rumour and speculation". However, an industry source confirmed the group had been looking for a buyer in recent months, and was now close to a deal.

ING is believed to be keen to sell BAM to a company without an existing UK asset management business, to avoid a messy consolidation process for its employees and to maximise value for the business.

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