The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) has reported that US private equity firms J.C. Flowers & Co and Cerberus Capital Management have agreed to buy German lender HSH Nordbank for up to EUR1 billion (USD1.2 billion).
According to the WSJ, the deal could be announced this week.
HSH Nordbank, owned by the German states of Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg, is racing to find a buyer by the end of February or face liquidation, after suffering massive losses on non-performing shipping loans. J.C. Flowers already owns approximately 5 percent of HSH.
Media reports suggest that, up until six months ago, the bank's owners were expecting a sale price of EUR200 million (USD245.9 million), but a gradual recovery in the shipping industry, higher earnings expectations and a substantial reduction in bad shipping loans have made the lender more attractive.