Belfast Telegraph

Shareholders take Lloyds to court

By John-Paul Ford Rojas

Lloyds shareholders involved in a £350m legal battle over its disastrous takeover of Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS) have gone to the High Court to try to obtain secret documents relating to the deal.

The 6,000 claimants, who all held Lloyds TSB stock at the time of the acquisition, claim they were kept in the dark when they were asked to approve the takeover.

Lloyds Banking Group had to be rescued by taxpayers with the Treasury still owning just under 15% of the business.

Lawyers representing the claimants are seeking disclosure of advice provided to Lloyds ahead of the publication of a circular to shareholders in November 2008 ahead of the meeting called to seek their approval.

The investors complain that they were not told about lifelines worth £25.65bn and $18bn (£12bn) provided by the Bank of England and the US Federal Reserve to HBOS, and a £10bn loan facility from Lloyds.

More than 99% of shareholders voted to approve the takeover, among them some of those making claims yesterday, the court heard.

Alan Steinfeld QC, for the investors, said: "Some of them voted for. Some of them voted against."

But all were saying they were not given the information they should have been, he added.

Belfast Telegraph