A group put together by private-equity firm Hellman & Friedman may bid for the iShares unit of Barclays ( BCS), according to published reports.

Bloomberg, citing a person with knowledge of the situation, said a transaction could be valued at as much as $5 billion.

Barclays, the third-largest bank in the U.K., has set a deadline for offers for the end of this week, according to Bloomberg.

Barclays may finance as much as 80% of the sale price of the iShares unit, the Wall Street Journal and the U.K.'s Sunday Times reported.

Other members of the group could include Carlyle Group, Apax Partners and TPG, the Sunday Times reports.

Private-equity firm Bain Capital also could be part of the group bidding for iShares, according to a report from Dow Jones Newswires which cited people familiar with the deal. Another person said Bain Capital could launch its own bid for iShares.

Last week, Barclays confirmed it has been in talks with several parties about selling iShares, its San Francisco-based exchange-traded funds business.

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