Lloyds Banking Group (LON:LLOY) has painted the HBOS deal as too good to miss in an ongoing trial, Bloomberg has reported. The news came after lawyers for shareholders suing the bank argued earlier this week that the bailed-out lender had exposed its investors to ‘colossal risk’ by buying its ailing rival.
Lloyds’ share price has fallen into the red in today’s session, having given up 1.51 percent to 67.29p as of 14:40 GMT. The decline is largely in line with a selloff in the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently standing 1.30 percent in the red at 7,082.47 points.
Lloyds hits back
Bloomberg quoted Lloyds’ court filings as saying that when the UK government had “indicated that it would be willing to do what it could to assist in waiving the competition restrictions and permit Lloyds to acquire HBOS, they considered this to be a one-off opportunity”. The report comes amid an ongoing trial, with shareholders suing the bailed-out lender over the acquisition at the height of the financial crisis which was subsequently followed by a taxpayer-funded rescue.
Earlier this week, Richard Hill QC told the High Court that it was ‘not acceptable’ for the blue-chip lender to have recommended the HBOS takeover to investors given what it knew about its financial woes.
Bloomberg quoted Helen Davies, a lawyer for Lloyds, as commenting today that the claimants’ view was one “they’re expressing with the benefit of hindsight”.
Analyst ratings update
JPMorgan Chase & Co, which sees Lloyds as a ‘buy,’ set a price target on the shares of 85p today. According to MarketBeat, the FTSE 100 lender currently has a consensus ‘hold’ rating and an average price target of 75.97p.