A clutch of vulture funds and private-equity bidders are circling a £900m portfolio of British sub-prime mortgages being auctioned by the administrators of Lehman Brothers.

Second-round bids for the portfolio, which includes the collapsed bank’s Capstone servicing business that employs 450 people, have to be lodged by the end of January.

American private-equity giants Apollo and Blackstone are believed to have been among those to have run a ruler over the business – one of the largest assets of Lehman’s UK operations that remains unsold.

Analysts believe the portfolio of mortgages will sell for less than 50p in the £1, reflecting mounting expectations of a collapse in British house prices. Lehman announced a plan to sell the business to the American investment firm Blackrock shortly before it collapsed in September, but the deal was never completed.

Sunday Times, Daily Telegraph