Lloyds Banking Group has emerged as the leading bidder for Bank of America’s £7bn credit card business in Britain, taking the UK lender closer to its first acquisition since being rescued by the taxpayer more than seven years ago.
When Bank of America initially offered this portfolio for sale, there were murmurs that the Brexit vote in July 2016 had generated fears of the sale going ahead and even potentially precipitated a reduction in sale price. It is heartening to hear that this potential transaction is still going ahead for two reasons. Firstly, Lloyds is finally in a position to make an acquisition. In 2009, Lloyds was quite a different story – on the brink of collapse and needing a taxpayer bailout. The Treasury aims to exit fully by next year. Provided the competition issues are dealt with, the proposed purchase is for the MBNA credit card business worth £7bn based in Chester with 1,700 staff and would result in Lloyds controlling a quarter of the UK credit card market. Secondly, the M&A world is still ticking irrespective of Brexit.