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Bidders Liberty House and Excalibur Steel UK consider working together to buy Tata Steel

By ITV Wales Business Correspondent Carole Green

The two takeover bid proposals were submitted earlier this month Credit: PA

Liberty House and Excalibur Steel UK could be considering working together to buy the Tata Steel UK operation, ITV News understands.

The rumours have emerged as the Tata board plan to meet in Mumbai this week to whittle down the seven bids for the ailing steel operation.

The sale includes the huge Port Talbot plant and 15,000 jobs across the UK.

Neither companies were prepared to comment on Saturday - all bidders being subject to Tata's strict Non Disclosure Agreement.

15,000 steel jobs across the UK are on the line Credit: PA

Excalibur is effectively a management buy-out bid, led by Tata UK's director of Strip Products Stuart Wilkie.

Mr Wilkie has taken leave of absence from his Tata post to pursue the deal.

Liberty House meanwhile has said it would turn away from blast furnaces towards an electric arc furnace operation, making steel from scrap metal if it was the successful bid.

However, it remains to be seen if they would keep that position if bids realigned.

There are also reports on Saturday that the American turnaround specialist Wilbur Ross could be entering the sales process looking to pick up and transform the Tata UK Business.

As the Tata board meeting approaches, bidders will be working hard behind the scenes not to lose any ground, and there will be jockeying for position.

We may well see new alliances forming amongst some of the seven bidders in the coming days