SINGAPORE (May 23): Barclays Plc has been exploring a potential merger with rival banks including Standard Chartered Plc, as part of wide-ranging contingency plans being weighed by senior board members following pressure from an activist investor, the Financial Times reported.

“Hypothetical combinations” with other banks have also been discussed by Barclays’s directors, including Deutsche Bank AG, Credit Suisse Group AG and DBS Group Holdings, the FT reported.

Chairman John McFarlane was at least theoretically keen on the idea of combining with Standard Chartered, and was supported by Deputy Chairman Gerry Grimstone, the FT reported, citing two unidentified people close to the situation.

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