Speculation is mounting that Deutsche Bank, the world's third biggest bank, has set its sights on Barclays as a possible merger partner.
The German bank, which has said it wants to link up with a foreign operator, it believed to have settled on three possible partners including Barclays, Netherlands-based ING and Switzerland's Credit Suisse.
German reports say Deutsche's chief executive Josef Ackermann announced his three choices to the bank's board back in April and that a decision will be made by the autumn.
Barclays, which has announced it is to cut 800 management, support and IT jobs, has indicated in the past that it supports merging with a major European bank.
Barclays declined to comment.