A lead bidder for New Star Asset Management, the embattled fund management group whose banks agreed to a debt-for-equity swap last month, could be announced as soon as tomorrow, according to people close to the situation.

It is understood that the number of potential buyers for the business, which its lending banks are keen to offload as soon as possible, have been whittled down from nine to about five.

Schroders is understood to have submitted an indicative cash offer for the asset manager. Other bidders include Henderson, Gartmore and Neptune Investment Management.

Aberdeen is thought to have made a share offer for the group. All offers are conditional on a capital restructuring agreement with its lenders.

The banks, advised by UBS, are expected to make up their minds about the offers in the week ahead.

Financial Times