THE FORMAL lock-up on Lloyds’ holding of St James’ Place shares expires today, removing one obstacle to the bank selling more stock in the wealth management unit.
When the bank sold £450m worth of stock in May it agreed not to sell any more for another 180 days – a lock-up period which runs out today.
That sale took its shareholding down to around 22 per cent, and followed a previous sale of stock in March.
The sale surprised markets, because the bank had previously agreed to another lock-up, but broken it to sell more stock.
This time round the bank is not thought to be pushing for a quicker sale, and in any case would have to abide by normal market practice and get the approval of its bookrunner Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
However market speculation is expected thanks to a rise in the unit’s share price.
Stock in St James’ Place stood at 630p at the close of the market on Friday, up from around 400p a year ago.
Lloyds is also in the process of selling other units. It is looking at floating the TSB, a retail banking unit it is spinning off as an independent lender under the terms of its 2008 bailout.
And it has sold a range of other assets over the year, including overseas private banking units, in a major drive to cut complexity from the business and re-focus on UK retail and business banking business.
City A.M. Reporter