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Questions raised over Lloyds sell-off plan

A major question mark was raised over plans by state-backed Lloyds Banking Group to sell 632 branches to Co-op bank after Lloyds said the deal was proving "highly complex" and that a further market update would be needed within the next three months. Lloyds made the admission alongside plans to create 500 new jobs to help service the business when it is spun off from Lloyds.

The sale was ordered by the EU as the price for the multi-billion pound government bailout that kept Lloyds afloat during the financial crisis after its rescue of HBOS.

Lloyds made Co-op its preferred bidder after conducting an auction for Verde but has been lining up flotation plans in parallel in case the deal hits the sort of problems that it admitted yesterday.