Ex-Standard Chartered chief executive and former trade minister Lord Davies is said to be among the bidders who have signalled an interest in buying part of the Government’s 39 per cent stake in Lloyds Banking Group.
The Sunday Telegraph reports that Lord Davies, who is vice-chairman of US private equity firm Corsair Capital, is looking to put together a consortium of wealth funds and other investors to take as much as £10bn of the £18bn Lloyds stake owned by the Government. The Sunday Times suggests the Lord Davies-backed consortium could potentially acquire the full 39 per cent stake, though this is considered unlikely.
Corsair, which is working on a deal to buy 316 branches from Royal Bank of Scotland, is thought to be taking advice from HSBC on plans to buy the Lloyds stake.
Other interested bidders include sovereign wealth funds from Singapore, Norway, Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Kuwait.
The Sunday Times says Singaporean sovereign wealth fund Temasek is considered to be the most interested of the prospective buyers, and is said to be willing to buy about 10 per cent of the bank’s shares.
UK Financial Investments, which manages the Government’s stakes in the banks, has set a deadline of today for investment banks to submit proposals on how they would manage the sale of the Lloyds stake.
Chancellor George Osborne used his annual Mansion House speech last month to tell markets the Government is “actively considering options for share sales in Lloyds”.
It is thought an initial placing of shares could be launched as early as next month with Lloyds’ existing institutional investors, to coincide with the company’s interim results. Further tranches of shares could then be opened to the public.