Today’s extraordinary developments in UK banking have gradually been unfolding throughout the day.
Whilst nothing is yet set in stone (at least publically, although I’ve heard that this deal may have been talked about since December), a few more details on the Lloyds TSB / HBOS merger takeover are becoming clearer.
Once, again, we have BBC business editor Robert Peston to thank for the “inside info” on this deal.
- It appears that Lloyds TSB will announce a price of approx. £2.80 £2.32 per share tomorrow, around twice the value of each share at the close of trading today.
- The government will turn a blind eye to the fact that the creation of the “super-bank” could be creating a monopoly in the banking industry, arguing that it is primarily good for the stability of the economy and that the newly formed group will be kept in check by the Office of Fair Trading. This is in contrast to when Lloyds tried to takeover Abbey back in 2001 when the government blocked the bid on the grounds that it would be against public interest as it would stifle competition for current accounts and business banking.
- Although we haven’t seen queues outside HBOS branches as happened with Northern Rock, it seems that savers were beginning to take their money out of HBOS, which worried the government enough to facilitate the merger, wanting to avoid another Northern Rock crisis. Indeed, I’ve heard that one division of HBOS has seen withdrawals of £30million in the past couple of days.
- One big worry, and currently an unknown, is how Lloyds intends to cut costs once any takeover is complete – no doubt there will be branch closures and job losses to deal with.
- The new group is to be called Lloyds TSB Halifax Bank Of Scotland Group PLC, and we have a copy of the new logo here.
OK, I made up that last point, but you can bet the marketing people are having nightmares about any renaming and rebranding. Those that aren’t having nightmares about losing their jobs of course.
I guess there will be more to talk about tomorrow, so stay tuned for more Lloyds TSB / HBOS takeover related shennanigans.
UPDATE: Looks like Lloyds will now be offering £2.32 per share. More here.
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