George Osborne has fired the proverbial starting gun on the privatisation of the Government’s stake in Lloyds this morning. The treasury announced it plans to sell-off £2bn worth of its 12% stake in the bank, and has focused on attracting retail investors.
Those applying for less than £1,000 worth of shares will be given priority and members of the public will be given a 5% discount on the market price. Investors who hang on to their stake for more than a year will receive a bonus share for every 10 that they buy.
That seems like a bid to avoid the kind of criticism that has followed the Government’s sell-off of Royal Mail, which critics have depicted as a gift to the City. Institutional investors were prioritised in that sell-off, but many got out quickly after its share price rocketed by 38%.