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Egg France to be poached by new partner

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Written by Jo Best, Contributor

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It looks like the speculation concerning Egg's beleaguered French operations could soon be coming to an end, as the online bank is expected to announce that it will opt for a joint venture partner rather than closing down entirely.

It's thought the bank will announce its future at the same time as its third quarter results, which will be unveiled tomorrow. The news, reported in the Telegraph on Monday, comes after the bank has been in talks with several parties interested in taking over the loss-making continental company.

Cardholder numbers for the online bank have been disappointing and losses have risen over recent months, but Egg's infrastructure and existing brand may prove a big draw for those wanting to dip their toe in the internet banking market.

While the bank's owner, Prudential, could opt for an outright closure, the expenses that such would incur would be prohibitive – up to £75m. Despite Egg's less than stellar performance across the Channel, the bank continues to impress investors on this side of the water and, with over three million customers, could afford such a payment.

One possible explanation for the decision may be a cash craving on Prudential's side – conjecture has it that the company is looking to sell its 80 per cent stake in Egg for a sizeable money mountain.

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