Fears over a deleterious bidding war will lead a group of shareholders, said to include Standard Life's David Cummings and Scottish Widows' Robert Waugh, to bring pressure to bear to prevent Barclays from improving its offer, according to unnamed sources cited by British daily the Telegraph.
One of the shareholders said to be involved told the newspaper: "It [the consortium's bid] is still preferable to Barclays' offer. It is clear to us that most of the UK shareholders would rather the consortium won.
"Trying to increase the offer against the advice of many of the bank's largest investors could damage [John Varley's, Barclays chief executive officer] credibility."
News of moves to stymie Barclays' offer comes after the RBS-led consortium this week raised the cash facet of its offer from 79 per cent to 93 per cent.