April 24 (Reuters) - Lloyds Banking Group’s planned sale of over 600 bank branches to the Co-operative Group has collapsed after the latter decided it could not proceed with the 750-million-pound ($1.15 billion) deal, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday, citing two people familiar with the situation.
The deal was meant to lift the Co-op’s share of Britain’s bank branch network to 10 percent from less than 4 percent and equip it to take on the country’s “Big Four” lenders - HSBC , Barclays Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds itself.
Both Lloyds and the Co-op were unavailable to comment on the report.
The Financial Times said the cancellation of the deal, the terms of which were originally struck last summer, is set to be announced as early as Wednesday. ()
Lloyds said last month that it was preparing for a stock market listing of the branches as a fall-back in case the deal with the Co-op fell through.
As a condition of receiving state aid during the 2008 financial crisis, Lloyds is obligated to sell the 630 branches -- known as the Verde network -- by the end of the year.
However, bankers are sceptical that the divestment of the whole business could be completed by the year’s end, the Financial Times said.