HSBC Considers Spinoff of British Retail Bank, Sunday Times Says

HSBC Holdings Plc is considering spinning off its U.K. retail bank for about 20 billion pounds ($30.4 billion), the Sunday Times newspaper reported, without saying where it got the information.

A spinoff would recreate Midland Bank, which HSBC bought in 1992, although a deal isn’t imminent, the London-based newspaper said. The plan results from government requirements that lenders separate retail operations from the rest of their business as of 2019, the Times reported. Peter Tilley, a spokesman at the bank, declined to comment.

A breakup could advance proposals for HSBC to move its headquarters out of the U.K. The bank said Friday that it’s reviewing whether to relocate because of rising tax and regulatory costs, with Hong Kong viewed by analysts as its most likely destination.

HSBC Chairman Douglas Flint has been under pressure from investors to consider leaving Britain, where a levy imposed on banks’ global balance sheets following the financial crisis cost HSBC 750 million pounds last year, more than any other lender. Europe accounts for less than a quarter of the bank’s profit.

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