Bank of China in Talks to Buy UK's No. 1 Bank

HBOS would be largest overseas acquisition by Chinese institution
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 11, 2008 7:12 AM CST
Bank of China's landmark headquarters in Hong Kong. Bank of China is said to be behind a counteroffer for HBOS, Britain's largest bank. HBOS is currently being taken over by Lloyds.   (©johdax)
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(Newser) – The state-owned Bank of China emerged last night as the main player in a new takeover bid for Halifax Bank of Scotland. HBOS, the largest bank in Britain, is currently being taken over by Lloyds, but a former HBOS executive is now putting together a counteroffer. If the deal goes through it would represent the largest-ever overseas acquisition by a Chinese bank, reports the Scotsman.

While it's unclear whether Bank of China will make a formal bid, the future of HBOS remains up in the air. Lloyds has promised major reductions in costs, stoking fears of job losses. In recent days two Scottish bankers who promised to keep HBOS independent attempted a putsch on the bank's leadership, but shareholders rebuffed the action.