Richard Branson's Virgin Money is mulling a bid for 316 branches of the Royal Bank of Scotland, a source familiar with the matter said on Sunday, after the collapse of a deal to sell them to Spanish giant Santander.
Virgin Money, which bought the remains of Northern Rock bank last year, is "re-examining the potential for a bid" for the RBS outlets, the source told AFP.
The Sunday Telegraph meanwhile reported that buyout firm NBNK was also having a look at the RBS division.
Santander on Friday pulled out of a £1.65-billion ($2.65-billion, 2.05-billion-euro) deal to buy the 316 outlets from Royal Bank of Scotland, in a heavy blow to the state-rescued British lender.
Santander argued that it did not believe the banks could meet a deadline of February 2013, extended from the end of 2011, to complete a sale that was ordered by the European Commission in 2010.
Virgin Money had lost out to Santander in the original auction for the RBS branches in a sales process that comprised five bidders.
Edinburgh-based RBS was required to reduce its branch network as part of EC penalties after it received a vast £45.5-billion bailout at the height of the global financial crisis. It faces a deadline of the end of 2013 to complete a sale.
RBS, which is now 81 percent taxpayer-owned, has axed around 35,000 jobs since it came under state control in 2008.