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The long-running saga concerning the sale of Egg has taken a new twist with yet another company emerging as favourite to buy the UK Internet bank.

Capital One, the US credit card giant, has offered £1.4bn for the Prudential's 79 per cent share in Egg, according to The Sunday Telegraph. The emergence of Capital One as a favourite to buy Egg comes as a bid by former front-runner, US rival MBNA, appears to be running out of puff, the newspaper reports.

Capital One was established in 1995 and has become a major player in the credit card industry, with 46.7m customers and managed loans totalling $71.8bn (£39bn).

The Pru has been looking for a buyer for its Internet bank for more than six months. Last year, Egg more than doubled its losses to £34.4m blaming the loss on poor business in France. Good profits for the UK business - £72.8m in the UK - were eaten up by losses of £89.1m in France.

Shares in Egg were unchanged at 159.25p in early morning trading. ®

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