Report: Private equity firms circle Bank of Ireland

A consortium including KKR, Carlyle and Cardinal Asset Management has reportedly tabled a €3bn bid to be part of Ireland’s first bank bailout. JC Flowers is also reportedly in the running to recapitalise Ireland's oldest bank.

Bank of Ireland, the Dublin-, London- and New York-listed commercial banking group, has received approaches from “a number of parties” wishing to invest in the business, which reportedly includes a consortium of private equity bidders.

Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and The Carlyle Group have both been linked to a consortium led by Irish firm Cardinal Asset Management firm, according to a report in the Irish Independent.

The consortium, in which the Irish government has a stake, has reportedly tabled a bid of between €2.5 billion and €3 billion to potentially acquire around 60 percent of the bank’s shares. At press time, Bank of Ireland had a market cap of €1.4 billion.

BoI: help is on the way

Bank of Ireland, which is the oldest and second largest bank in the country, issued a statement over the weekend confirming that it had “received unsolicited approaches from a number of parties wishing to make an investment in the group” and that no decision on the approaches had been made. The bank declined to comment further.

KKR and Carlyle were unavailable for comment.

US financial services specialist JC Flowers has also submitted an investment proposal to the Irish Ministry of Finance regarding Bank of Ireland, according to the paper. Neither the Irish Department of Finance nor JC Flowers were available to comment.

If either of the bids is successful it will represent the first recapitalisation of an Irish bank since the start of the credit crisis.