Barclays to launch €6.8bn rights issue

Barclays is set to launch its £5.8bn (€6.83bn) rights issue in two weeks, possibly on the fifth anniversary of its takeover of the US operations of Lehman Brothers.

The one-in-four offer, priced at 185p a share, is expected in the third week of September, according to sources. Barclays did the Lehman deal on Sep 16, 2008, a day after the US investment bank collapsed.

The British bank declined to comment, but has previously said it expects its new shares to start trading on Oct 3.

Barclays unveiled basic details alongside half-year results on Jul 30 after Britain’s financial regulator said it needed an extra £12.8bn to cushion it against potential market shocks, based on a new measure of its leverage.

The bank’s share price has held relatively steady since that date — dropping 7%. The shares closed up 2.35p (0.83%) at 285.70 yesterday, valuing the bank at £37bn.

The rights issue, the biggest by a British bank since 2009, could run into competition from the sale of Britain’s shares in Lloyds Banking Group. The government could sell £4-6 billion of its Lloyds stake in the next few weeks before national political party conferences in late September, industry sources have said.

Barclays’ plan to bolster capital also includes retaining earnings, selling £2bn of bonds and shrinking loans, notably in its investment bank.

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