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Shares in the company soared by more than a third shortly after the announcement
The challenger bank said it has engaged with Carlyle over the possible offer, following reports by Bloomberg but advised shareholders to take no further action.
“This announcement does not amount to a firm intention to make an offer… and there can be no certainty that any offer will be made, nor as to the terms nor structure on which any offer might be made,” Metro Bank added.
Carlyle now has a deadline of 5pm on December 2 to either place a firm bid for Metro Bank or walk away from a deal.
Metro Bank was valued at around £180 million at the end of trading on Wednesday, having seen its share price drop by more than half since the pandemic hit last year.
The company has been among mid-sized lenders to struggle amid low-interest rates and increased competition from rapidly digital-focused start-ups.
It has also been undertaking a major transformation after a major accounting error in 2019 led to the departure of its top bosses.
Last month, Metro Bank cheered signs of a “gradual return to normality” as lending remained flat in its third quarter.
The group revealed lending of £12.3 billion for the three months to the end of September, holding firm on the previous quarter.
Shares in the company were 34.1% higher 138.1p