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UK government takes first step to bank sell-off

In a surprise move it has been revealed that the UK government has already held various beauty parades as it looks for investment bankers to help offload shares in Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds bank. The £70 billion stakes, at cost value, held in the operations look likely to be sold either later this year or early next year with many analysts believing that an overseas bidder will come to the fore.

The government is in a very difficult situation because on one hand the liquidity available through the share sales will be very useful, although on the other hand, at current levels they will crystallise significant losses. However, as the "cat is now out of the bag" with regards to the share sales this will be something of a dark cloud hanging over the companies for some time. As you would expect, from a shareholder looking to dispose of a large number of shares, the government has stressed that no sales are imminent although many people believe otherwise.

When you consider that 70% of Royal Bank of Scotland and 43% of Lloyds bank will be up for sale, then it's highly likely that we will see the two operations taken over.

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