LONDON -(Dow Jones)- U.K. Financial Investments Ltd., the government agency that manages the state's bank stakes, said Monday it will hire financial advisers to advise it on a possible sale of Northern Rock PLC, the mortgage lender that was nationalized in 2008.

UKFI said advisers would help it to evaluate strategic options for the bank. It said no particular option is on the agenda and there isn't a timeframe yet for returning it to private ownership.

Government ministers have previously said a sale of the bank is one possibility.

Corporate finance advisers have until Jan. 24 to express their interest in the work, UKFI said.

UKFI was set up in December 2008 to manage the government's holdings in Lloyds Banking Group PLC (LYG) and Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC (RBS) after a massive bailout to help stabilize the financial sector in October 2008.

It also assumed responsibility for Northern Rock, which had been taken over by the government in Feb. 2008 after the government deemed nationalization was a better option than selling the bank to bidders that included Virgin Money and a group of Northern Rock executives.

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