LONDON (Reuters) - J Sainsbury, Britain’s third largest supermarket group, said on Tuesday it was in advanced negotiations with Lloyds Banking Group to take full ownership of the Sainsbury’s Bank joint venture.
The statement was prompted by media speculation over the weekend that Sainsbury’s was on the verge of buying out Lloyds’ 50 percent stake in the bank.
Sainsbury’s was the first major British supermarket to open a bank, commencing trading, through the joint venture, in February 1997.
Sainsbury’s Bank provides a range of products including insurance, credit cards, savings and loans.
A Sainsbury’s buyout of Lloyds’ stake would mirror grocery market leader Tesco’s acquisition of RBS’s stake in Tesco Personal Finance five years ago.
Sainsbury’s is scheduled to publish 2012-13 results on Wednesday.
Reporting by James Davey, Editing by Paul Sandle