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Britain’s Barclays is in exclusive talks to buy embattled lender Metro Bank’s 3 billion pound ($3.74 billion) residential mortgages portfolio, Sky News reported on Monday.

A deal is likely to be struck by the end of the year, the report added.

Both Barclays and Metro Bank declined to comment.

The report comes after Britain’s best-known challenger bank announced a 325 million pound capital raise and 600 million pound debt refinancing in early October, in a bid to bolster its finances.

Metro Bank had sought to shore up its finances after a string of setbacks in recent years, including accounting errors, leadership departures and delayed regulatory approval for key capital relief.

Shareholders in the company vote Monday on the rescue plan, which would hand majority shareholder control to its biggest investor - Colombian billionaire Jaime Gilinski. The plan has won approval from bondholders, some of whom will take a 40% haircut.

Shares in Metro were trading up 9.3%.

Last month, Santander’s chief executive officer Hector Grisi had said the Spanish bank may consider looking into acquiring a mortgage portfolio from Metro.

Separately, Barclays is exploring a potential acquisition of Tesco’s banking operations, Reuters reported this month.

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