Boycott threat could hurt Lloyds stake sale

Boycott threat could hurt Lloyds stake sale

LONDON - Reuters
Boycott threat could hurt Lloyds stake sale

Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne uses a cash machine at a brank of Lloyds TSB bank in central London in this file photo. AFP photo

Just as Britain’s government is trying to clear a path for the politically sensitive sale of its 39 percent stake in Lloyds bank, resentment is brewing among the investors who would be expected to buy the stock.

Some fund managers say they are wary of buying stock released in staggered sales until banks and regulators clarify the rules on how quickly company owners are allowed to sell more shares - a dispute that could hurt large stock offers such as Lloyds.

They say they have been burned before by banks allowing owners to bypass lock-up agreements, which are meant to prevent too much stock hitting the market too fast and pushing the share price down.

Any boycott could complicate the privatisation of Lloyds Banking Group, one of the government’s most high-profile strategies to show it is improving Britain’s national finances and getting banks to lend more to businesses.

“Decisions to blacklist are on people’s agenda,” said one fund manager at a UK investment house running around 80 billion pounds in assets.