UK insurance group Prudential looks set to undertake a significant u-turn by announcing that it is to retain its 79% stake in the online bank Egg.

Prudential’s previous CEO Jonathan Bloomer originally put Egg up for sale almost two years ago after a brief but disastrous foray into the French card market. Rumors of possible bidders emerged steadily over several months, but it is understood that none of the suitors met the asking price set by Mr Bloomer.

The prospects of a sale receded in 2005 as Mr Bloomer was replaced as Prudential CEO by Mark Tucker. Further market speculation linked Citigroup to a GBP1 billion bid in July 2005, but again this failed to materialize into a concrete deal.

It now seems that a strategic review undertaken by Prudential’s new CEO Mark Tucker is likely to lead to a reversal of the decision to sell Egg. However, press reports suggest that Mr Tucker is expecting Egg to be run as a standalone operation on a day to day basis.