Britain's government says it is willing to take a stake of up to 25 percent in Tata Steel's U.K. operations as part of any deal to rescue the plants.

The offer announced Thursday is part of a package worth hundreds of millions of pounds that will be made available "on commercial terms to potential buyers."

Business Secretary Sajid Javid says "this government is committed to supporting the steel industry to secure a long-term viable future and we are working closely with Tata Steel U.K. on its process to find a credible buyer."

Tata Steel announced in recent weeks that it planned to sell its U.K. plants after high costs and a glut of cheap steel from China triggered mounting losses.