UK sale of Lloyds questioned

Shareholders in Britain’s Lloyds Banking Group are calling on the government to rethink plans to sell down its stake in the lender to ensure taxpayers get the best deal.

Chancellor George Osborne has pledged to sell part of the government’s remaining shares in the bank to ordinary Britons in a sale reminiscent of the 1980s privatisations of British Gas and British Telecom under Margaret Thatcher.

But investors argue an offer to retail investors, which would need to be made at a significant discount to the market price, would not represent best value for taxpayers.

“I do think it would be an awful lot simpler and less costly to sell the remainder of the shares in the market than execute a retail sale at some fixed discount,” Richard Buxton, head of UK equities at Old Mutual Global Investors, told Reuters. The UK government has raised more than £13bn (€18.5bn) from its shares so far.


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