Media celebrity Noel Edmonds’ offer to settle his claim for £10 million against Lloyds Banking Group (LON:LLOY) has been turned down, Sky News has revealed. The TV presenter is now preparing to launch formal legal proceedings against the bailed-out lender, related to the fraud at the HBOS Reading unit.
Lloyds’ share price has been little changed in London this morning, having added 0.06 percent to 67.44p as of 08:48 GMT, largely in line with the broader market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently standing about 0.04 percent higher at 7,503.03 points. The lender’s shares are up by some 10 percent this year, as compared with an over 8.8-percent rise in the Footsie.
Sky News reported yesterday that lawyers for Noel Edmonds, who hosted television shows including Deal or No Deal and Telly Addicts, had told Lloyds during mediation talks last month that he would accept a £10-million payment from the bank in exchange for dropping his claim. The bailed-out lender, however, rejected the offer.
Insiders told the newswire that Edmonson was now preparing to launch formal legal proceedings against Lloyds early in the new year, which are expected to result in a claim for just under £70 million and not the widely reported figure of up to £300 million. The £300-million figure was arrived at prior to the instruction of forensic accountants who have since determined a more precise value to Edmonds’ claim.
The ongoing row between the TV presenter and the bank is related to the collapse of Edmonds’ company Unique Group in 2007, which he alleges was the consequence of the fraud at HBOS’ Reading unit.
Goldman Sachs bearish on Lloyds
In other news, Goldman Sachs remains bearish on Lloyds and peer Barclays (LON:BARC), having placed both lenders its its ‘UK Sell Ideas’ for next year. WebFG News quoted the analysts as pointing to evidence of lower margins on mortgages and intensifying competition on deposits as reflected in the lenders’ latest third quarter financials as the main cause of their ‘bearishness’.