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Barclays explores mergers with rival banks

Barclays has been privately exploring a possible merger with rival international banks, including Standard Chartered, in response to pressure from an activist investor who has become one of its biggest shareholders.

One person who knows Mr Bramson well said he was likely to call for Barclays to return to shareholders much of the £25bn of capital tied up in its corporate and investment banking division by shrinking the long-underperforming unit. 

Contingency plans discussed by some Barclays directors include:

ways to return more capital to shareholders
options to expand the bank’s ringfenced UK business
and “hypothetical combinations” with a range of other banks, including Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse and DBS in Singapore