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November 3, 2008    

Unnamed bidder emerges for HBOS

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by Kay Murchie
”Unnamed

The Lloyds TSB / HBOS merger was approved by the Government at the end of last week but over the weekend, an unnamed bidder has emerged and has been in discussions with the Government with regard to acquiring Halifax Bank of Scotland.

According to reports, the low stock market valuation of HBOS has appealed to the unnamed bidder.

According to Jim Spowart, a Scottish businessman and founder of Intelligent Finance, the interest is genuine and he is reported to be working with a European financial services company, whose identity is yet unknown.

Furthermore, Mr Spowart is to meet with Jim Murphy, Scottish Secretary, to discuss the bid, which is in the very early stages. Mr Spowart explained that if the bid is successful, it would ‘keep decision making in Scotland‘.

Meanwhile, the bidder has received a guarantee from the Treasury that any offer would be treated equally to that from Lloyds TSB, which is scheduled to be agreed by shareholders this week.

Members of the Scottish Parliament have voted against the Lloyds TSB deal as it is feared there will be branch closures and major job losses.

Following the reports, HBOS declined to comment but did say its deal with Lloyds TSB ‘brings certainty to our shareholders‘.

In related news, Lloyds TSB and HBOS are to publish trading statements this week with both banks expected report further write-downs.

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