Lloyds rebuffed by French in Lyonnais sell-off talks
Monday 16 November 1998
Banking sources say the discussions, which took place within the last six weeks, provide the strongest signal yet that Lloyds is actively looking abroad for deals. Until now it has cultivated a reputation for being the most UK-focused of the big four British banks.
However, the Lloyds chairman Sir Brian Pitman walked away from the talks over Credit Lyonnais after being told his demands for full management control were unacceptable to the French.
The Lyonnais approach is understood to have come from the French whose Finance Minister, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, is looking to create a core group of three large shareholders with around 10 per cent each prior to floating all but 10 per cent of the bank on the French stock market next year. However, bankers say the French were so outraged by Sir Brian's attitude that they have struck the British off their list of potential investors altogether.
Barclays made a takeover approach to the French about Credit Lyonnais some three years ago but was also rebuffed on much the same grounds
"They were very serious about Lyonnais," said one City source. "Pitman believes that Lloyds' success was being in at the start of the consolidation of the UK banking sector. Now with the euro coming, he is trying to identify other markets where consolidation will be replicated."
Lyonnais would have fitted one of Sir Brian's key acquisition criteria, in that the bank, despite the bad publicity surrounding its spectacular collapse five years ago, is the leading retail and commercial bank in Europe's second largest economy. There is also considerable fat to be trimmed, although France's restrictive labour laws remain a problem.
Lloyds is now understood to be looking seriously at other European targets, including rival French banks Societe Generale and Banque Nationale de Paris, as well as Commerzbank and BHF in Germany.
One banker said yesterday: "They are gearing up to do something. Internally staff have been primed to expect an international deal."
He added: "What they want to do is find a country where they can acquire two banks and then put them together in much the same way that they did here, first with Cheltenham & Gloucester and then with TSB."
Lloyds-TSB said last night that both Sir Brian and the chief executive Peter Ellwood had been open in the past about the bank's interest in pulling off a sizeable acquisition, and that international deals were definitely on the agenda. "They are looking both inside the UK and outside the UK."
Lloyds has also looked recently at National Australia Bank, which would give them Yorkshire and Clydesdale banks in the UK.
Returning to the stage after 20 years makes actress feel 'nauseous'
Top conservatoire offers ‘groundbreaking’ arts degree
- 1 Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means
- 2 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 3 Grandmas keep accidentally tagging themselves as Grandmaster Flash on Facebook
- 4 Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
- 5 Kanye West stops concert after two fans don't stand up - doesn't realise one is in wheelchair and the other disabled
Islamic State: Pope is 'being targeted by Isis', Iraqi ambassador to the Holy See warns
Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton nude pictures exhibition cancelled after artist concedes photos were 'stolen property'
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
John Travolta addresses former pilot's gay romance allegations publicly for the first time: 'That was the lowest I'd ever felt'
Richard III: Two years after his body was found scientists discover how he died
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
iJobs Money & Business
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35,000 first year: SThree: The SThree group i...
£20 - 24k (Uncapped Commission - £35k Year 1 OTE): Guru Careers: We are seekin...
£20 - 24k + Benefits: Guru Careers: This is a great opportunity for an enthusi...
£280 - £320 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...