UK supermarket chain J Sainsbury says it is in "advanced negotiations" with Lloyds Banking Group to take over full ownership of Sainsbury's Bank.
The supermarket made the statement to the London Stock Exchange on Tuesday following weekend media speculation over a buy out.
Sainsbury's Bank opened in 1997 through a 50/50 joint venture with Bank of Scotland, which was eventually subsumed by Lloyds. The business currently has 1.4 million customers for its portfolio of loans, insurance and saving accounts.
A separation from Lloyds would free the operation up to move into current accounts and mortgages as a full-scale competitor to Britain's high street banks.
Any move to assume full control would mirror rival Tesco's take over of its joint venture banking arrangement with Royal Bank of Scotland five years ago.