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Report: Turkish investment group in talks to acquire insolvent British Steel

An investment group owned by Turkey's military pension fund signaled its intention to bid for British Steel Corp. Ltd., the Financial Times reported, citing two sources familiar with the matter.

Ataer Holding — a unit of the Turkish state military retirement scheme Oyak, which is the largest shareholder in steelmaker Erdemir — is said to be in talks with the U.K. government to acquire the insolvent steelmaker, the sources cited by the London newspaper said.

However, a source said a sticking point in the negotiations may come in the form of Ataer seeking financial undertakings from the U.K. government, as any form of taxpayer support may be against EU regulations that restrict government aid for companies.

Terms of the deal were still being negotiated "line by line" amid bargaining over the specifics of the deal, which may include the buyer assuming British Steel's debt and its European manufacturing operations, said a source close to EY, which is assisting the official receiver in charge of the liquidation.

The Financial Times report said Sanjeev Gupta's Liberty House Ltd. tabled an offer for British Steel, contrary to an early June report saying the bid was unlikely.

An inquiry over the firm's collapse, which was due to start in late June, was delayed amid a search for buyers.

The U.K. government sought bids for British Steel since the steelmaker collapsed in May, after it thumbed down a state bailout sought by private equity owner Greybull Capital LLP.