ICELAND/UK – Icelandic bank Kaupthing, which has made a series of European acquisitions since 1998, is in talks to buy UK asset manager Singer & Friedlander.

The London-based firm said in a statement today: “The board confirms that it is in the early stages of discussions with Kaupthing Bank hf which may or may not lead to an offer for the whole of the issued share capital of Singer & Friedlander.

“The board of Singer & Friedlander emphasises that there can be no certainty as to the outcome of these discussions. A further announcement will be made in due course.”

There has been speculation about a bid for almost a year as Reykjavik-based Kaupthing built up its shareholding in Singer.

In August 2004 Icelandic banking industry analysts were telling IPE that a bid was imminent. Jonas Fridthjofsson of Íslandsbanki said at the time: “We think it would be a good buy for Kaupthing and strengthen their position in the UK.”

More than a year ago, Kaupthing chairman Sigurdur Einarrson said his group saw “good value” in Singer, adding it intended to be a “supportive shareholder”. J P Morgan Cazenove is working for Singer.