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BARCLAYS EYES MORE SELL-OFFS

BARCLAYS is edging closer to a sale of its private equity business, just weeks after it offloaded its fund management unit Barclays Global Investors (BGI) to BlackRock.<br /><br />The bank &ndash; widely seen as one of the big winners from the credit crunch &ndash;&nbsp; will meet with investors in Barclays Private Equity (BPE) this week to discuss a possible lucrative sale to add to its sale of BGI to the US investment manager.<br /><br />Barclays, led by chief executive John Varley, has been pondering a sale of BPE, valued at around &pound;3bn, since last year, as it attempted to build capital without taking government funding. Top dealmaker Roger Jenkins attended a meeting with investors at the end of 2008 to discuss a range of options, including a management buyout with BPE keeping a large stake.<br /><br />But despite forecasting that its core tier one capital ratio will hit eight per cent with the sale of BGI &ndash; well above Financial Services Authority&nbsp; requirements &ndash; the bank is still willing to listen to offers for BPE. The fund is one of the largest mid-market specialists in Europe and is currently investing the &euro;2.4bn (&pound;2.1bn) it raised in 2007.<br /><br />A spokesman for the bank declined to comment yesterday and sources familiar with the situation said that any deal would be a long way off.<br /><br />Renewed talk of a sale of BPE came as it emerged that Barclays&rsquo; president Bob Diamond has seen his expected windfall from the sale of BGI drop by around &pound;2m to &pound;20m in the past month. A shareholder circular released by the bank showed that the value of the cash-plus-equity deal had fallen to $12.7bn as a result of BlackRock&rsquo;s falling share price.<br /><br />Alongside Diamond&rsquo;s loss, about 410 employees of the fund-management unit will see their combined payout fall from &pound;730m to &pound;624m as a result. <br />However, Diamond still stands to make a substantial profit on the &pound;6m he spent on shares and options between 2003 and 2009.<br /><br />Barclays gained more capital from last month&rsquo;s cash and stock sale of BGI to BlackRock, the US fund manager that has been one of the biggest winners of the credit crunch.<br /><br />BlackRock, led by founder and chief executive Larry Fink,&nbsp; snapped up BGI for $13.5bn in a deal which created the world&rsquo;s largest money manager. <br /><br />The combined company, called BlackRock Global Investors, will have roughly $2.8 trillion of assets under management, more than double BlackRock&rsquo;s former size. <br /><br />Meanwhile, Barclay&rsquo;s investment bank Barclays Capital (BarCap) has continued its hiring spree by poaching Citigroup&rsquo;s Mark Todd as a managing director in mergers and acquisitions.<br /><br />Barclays has snared some 450 new bankers from rivals such as Citigroup and Morgan Stanley over the past nine months, as it pushes on with a drive to topple Goldman Sachs as the world&rsquo;s top investment bank.<br /><br />Profit at BarCap soared 361 per cent to &pound;907m in the first quarter on the back of last year&rsquo;s acquisition of Lehman Brothers&rsquo; US operations.