Barclays Bank confirmed today it is in talks with Lehman Brothers and its advisers regarding the ‘possible acquisition of certain Lehman Brothers assets on terms that would be attractive to Barclays shareholders’.

It said in a Stock Exchange statement today which it issued in response to media speculation that ‘there can be no assurance that the discussions will result in an agreement. A further announcement will be made in due course.’

It follows more than 48 hours of chaos and plunging shares in the financial markets after the US investment bank Lehman Brothers had filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code with the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.

The move comes after a rescue plan revealed by the bank last week, which involved spinning off $30bn (£17bn) of property assets and bringing in outside investment failed to calm fears over its liquidity.