BAWAG is lead bidder for Barclaycard Germany -sources

By Pablo Mayo Cerqueiro, Emma-Victoria Farr and Amy-Jo Crowley

LONDON/FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Austria’s BAWAG Group is the leading bidder for Barclays’ German consumer finance business, three people close to the matter told Reuters on Thursday.

The bank has been competing for the German business, formerly known as Barclaycard Germany, against Credit Agricole and a private equity consortium of Warburg Pincus and Centerbridge, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Bids were in the region of 500 million euros ($538 million), one of the sources said.

The talks are at an advanced stage but there is no certainty of a deal being agreed, the sources cautioned.

Representatives for Barclays, BAWAG, Credit Agricole and Warburg Pincus declined to comment. Centerbridge did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

A sale of the Hamburg-based Barclays unit to BAWAG would give the Austrian bank the ability to expand its loan book and customer base in the region.

The Barclays consumer finance operation has about 700 employees and started operating in Germany in 1991. The business, which offers flexible loans and payment cards to about 2.5 million customers, has about 2.5 million customers and reported a loan book of 4 billion pounds ($4.9 billion) at the end of June.

Barclays has been cutting back its retail businesses in Europe and the German sale was prompted by consumers’ more conservative spending habits since the COVID-19 pandemic.

($1 = 0.9288 euros)

(Reporting by Pablo Mayo Cerqueiro in London, Emma-Victoria Farr in Frankfurt and Amy-Jo Crowley in London; Additional reporting by Mathieu Rosemain in Paris; Editing by Anousha Sakoui, Elisa Martinuzzi and David Goodman)