JC Flowers, the private equity group that has expressed interest in troubled U.K. mortgage bank Northern Rock, has secured about £15 billion (US$30.64 billion) of funding which could be used for a takeover, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday.
The paper said most bidders who had expressed interest in buying part or all of Northern Rock had given up, and that only JC Flowers and the hedge fund Cerberus are thought still to be interested.
The paper gave no source for its report, and no comment was immediately available from either Northern Rock or JC Flowers.
The FT said JC Flowers had had access to Northern Rock's data room last week to investigate its financial performance.
It said JC Flowers was interested in keeping Northern Rock as a whole entity and was understood to have received funding commitments from blue-chip banks.
A JC Flowers team is to meet Northern Rock's advisers for talks that could lead to due diligence, the paper said. Northern Rock shares closed on Tuesday at 135.6 pence, up 3.5 pence.