A&L: a 156-year history

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The Independent Online

Alliance & Leicester said today it was in advanced talks about a possible takeover of the banking group. Here is a timeline of some key dates in the bank's history:

1852: Formation of the Leicester Permanent Benefit Society.

1863: Brighton & Sussex Equitable Building Society founded.

1945: The Alliance Building Society formed following a series of amalgamations involving the Brighton & Sussex.

1985: Merger between the Alliance Building Society and Leicester Building Society to form the Alliance & Leicester Building Society.

1990: A&L purchase of Girobank from the Post Office in 1990.

1997

April: A&L converts from a mutual building society into a bank, and floats on the London Stock Exchange.

2006

May: French bank Credit Agricole announces A&L is a potential takeover target, sending shares soaring. It decides to launch a bid for Greek lender Emporiki instead.

2007

February: A&L's group chief executive Richard Pym announces plans to retire from the bank after nearly five years at the helm.

September 14: Northern Rock confirms it has approached the Bank of England for financial support, sparking first run on a UK bank since Victorian times.

September 17: Shockwaves from Northern Rock's bail-out see shares in A&L plunge more than 30%.

2008

January 2: A&L shares jump after reports of takeover interest from Spanish banking giant Santander, owner of Abbey.

January 29: A&L reveals a greater than expected £185 million hit from investments linked to the credit crunch.

February 19: A&L is one of several lenders to pull the plug on controversial 125% mortgages.

February 20: A&L reports operating profits of £417 million for 2007, down from £585 million in 2006. The bank says the crisis in credit markets would cost it an extra £150 million a year in securing funds for new business.

April 28: A&L chairman Sir Derek Higgs dies suddenly at the age of 64. He is replaced in July by Ulster bank chairman Alan Gillespie.

May 13: The bank says it is funded into the second quarter of 2009, but adds that the deteriorating value of its assets cost it almost £400 million in the first four months of the year.

July 8: Shares hit 213.25p, nearly one sixth of their near £12 high last year.

July 14: A&L announces it is in "advanced talks" about a possible takeover.

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