Bloomberg News

British Financier Hugh Osmond Said to Bid for Lloyds Branches

July 27, 2011

July 27 (Bloomberg) -- Hugh Osmond, the British entrepreneur who founded U.K. restaurant chain Pizza Express, may bid for 632 branches being sold by Lloyds Banking Group Plc, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

The financier, who is a partner of Sun Capital Partners Ltd., a group of individual entrepreneurs who jointly acquire assets, is among the three bidders for the outlets, said the person, who declined to be identified because the talks are private. Lloyds, Britain’s biggest mortgage lender, may narrow the number of bidders in coming weeks, the person said. A spokeswoman for London-based Lloyds and officials at Sun Capital declined to comment.

NBNK Investments Plc, run by Peter Levene, and Co-Operative Bank Plc have also made indicative offers for the branches, people with knowledge of the matter said earlier this month. Lloyds, 41 percent taxpayer-owned after its bailout, is seeking 2.5 billion pounds ($4 billion) for the assets, which it’s being forced to sell to comply with European Union state-aid rules.

Lloyds hired Citigroup Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. to oversee the sale. The Financial Times reported Osmond’s interest earlier today. Osmond and his Sun partners may set up a special- purpose company to fund the acquisition of Lloyds’ branches, the person said today.

--Editors: Edward Evans, Steve Bailey.

To contact the reporter on this story: Anne-Sylvaine Chassany in London at achassany@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Edward Evans at eevans3@bloomberg.net


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