The UK government is planning to sell its remaining 12% stake in Lloyds Banking Group, owner of Halifax Bank of Scotland and Scottish Widows, in the coming months.
The government said it will sell at least £2 billion of shares to retail investors — ordinary members of the public — and that it intends “to fully exit from its Lloyds shareholding in the coming months.”
It is understood institutional shareholders will buy the remainder of the government’s stake.
The government built up a roughly 43 percent stake in Lloyds after its roughly £20.5 billion bail-out of the group during the 2007-2009 financial crisis.
All proceeds from the sale of Lloyds shares are being used to pay down the UK’s national debt.
“This final sale will be the biggest privatisation in over 20 years and I don’t want all those shares to go to City institutions. I want them to go to members of the public,” said UK finance minister George Osborne.
The government said members of the public will be offered a discount of 5% of the market price of Lloyds stock, with a bonus share for every 10 shares for those who hold their investment for more than a year.
The value of the bonus share incentive will be capped at £200 per investor. People applying for investments of less than £1,000 will be prioritised.