The banks which last week seized control of New Star Asset Management have asked the company’s advisers to sound out rivals about a takeover of the once-stellar City fund manager.

UBS, the investment bank, is understood to have been handed a mandate to approach New Star’s rivals, some of which have indicated publicly in recent weeks that they may be interested in pursuing a deal.

One option being considered by New Star’s advisers is a break-up of its fund management assets, which could see parts of the business sold to different suitors.

Such a move may accelerate the departure of John Duffield, New Star’s founder and chairman, who was last week forced to agree to a £240m debt-for-equity swap to prevent the company from collapse.

The banks which negotiated the debt-for-equity swap – HBOS, HSBC, Lloyds TSB and Royal Bank of Scotland – are keen to offload the group quickly.

Sunday Telegraph, The Times