LONDON (Reuters) - Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY.L) is considering selling its 60 percent stake in wealth manager St James’s Place (SJP.L) in a bid to raise around 1 billion pounds ($1.60 billion), according to a report in Britain’s Sunday Times.
The report said the bank’s stake in Britain’s biggest chain of financial advisers could be placed with investors in the market before the year-end.
Antonio Lorenzo, the bank’s strategy director, is leading the disposal plan, which comes as Lloyds faces renewed scrutiny from the Britain’s Financial Services Authority over its capital position, the report said.
St James’s Place shares have risen 23 percent in 2012, and closed on Friday at 398.5 pence, valuing the firm at just over 2 billion pounds, according to Reuters data.
Lloyds declined to comment on whether it was looking to sell its stake when contacted by Reuters.
However, a Lloyds spokesman said St James’s Place was “a good business that is performing well” and that the bank was “comfortable” with its shareholding.
Lloyds has been rumored to be considering the sale of St James’s Place since well before the financial crisis.
St James’s Place last week reported strong third quarter sales, a sign that the British wealth manager is grabbing market share from rivals and benefiting from its well-heeled clientele saving more money.
($1 = 0.6235 British pounds)
Reporting by Rhys Jones and Matthew Scuffham; editing by Jason Neely