"Lincoln National, one of the few insurers to accept federal bailout money, is pressing forward with the sale of its Delaware Investments money management unit," reports Financial Times' www.ignites.com fund-industry news and speculation cite, citing unnamed sources who we expect are connected to the Goldman Sachs investment bankers trying to close the deal.

"Aberdeen Asset Management is said to be close to buying Delaware and has offered roughly $350 million, the sources say.... Bidders (have included) private equity firm Hellman & Friedman and asset manager Schroders," but "Aberdeen appears to be the front-runner for Delaware," though Boston private equity buyer Advent International may still be interested...

Aberdeen, as we've noted before, could be a convenient Delaware buyer because its U.S. headquarters is right down Market Street from Delaware. Aberdeen employs around 200 in its 1735 Market (Mellon Bank Center) and Conshohocken offices. Delaware employs around 1,000 at 2005 Market (Commerce Plaza) and nearby space.

"The deal talk surrounding Delaware comes after some speculated that Philadelphia-based Lincoln, one of the nation’s biggest life insurance companies, would nix the Delaware auction after receiving approval in May to get up to $2.5 billion in government bailout funds. However, the auction is still on, one person says." One person!

Delaware manages around $100 billion in bond and stock funds.