UK's Northern Rock Confirms Talks with Potential Bidders

Mortgage lender Northern Rock confirmed Monday it is discussing options with several interested parties, but gave no details of the bidders or their proposals.

Northern Rock has been looking for a buyer since news last month that it had asked the Bank of England for an emergency loan and issued a profit warning led to the first depositors' run on a British bank for almost a century.

The rush was stemmed only when the government stepped in to guarantee deposits of Northern Rock savers.

Virgin Money, a unit of Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group, confirmed on Friday that it had made a bid for Northern Rock.

Press reports have said Apollo Management, Blackstone Group , Lone Star, J.C. Flowers and Cerberus Capital Management also were interested in the British lender.

In an announcement to the London Stock Exchange, Northern Rock described the proposal received so far as "preliminary in nature."

"Northern Rock will continue to work with potentially interested parties to understand more fully their preliminary proposals," the company said.

Branson said Virgin has put together a consortium of US and Asian investors, including AIG Financial Products, to submit a non-binding indication of interest to Northern Rock's board.