U.K. Said to Be Considering Lloyds Stake Sale as Soon as August

The U.K. government may start selling its 39 percent stake in Lloyds Banking Group Plc within the next 10 days, though it’s more likely to wait until at least September, according to a person familiar with the talks.

While the preference is to wait until September or October, the process could start after Britain’s biggest mortgage lender reports first-half results on Aug. 1, said the person, who asked not to be identified because they aren’t authorized to speak publicly. As much as 5 billion pounds ($7.7 billion) may be raised, the person said.

The British government, which provided a 20 billion-pound bailout almost five years ago, earlier this month hired JPMorgan Chase & Co. to advise on a strategy for returning both Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc to private investors. The initial Lloyds transaction would be a test of appetite for a further offering of shares to both institutional and individual investors, two people with knowledge of the plan said last week.

Officials at Lloyds and U.K. Financial Investments Ltd., which oversees the government’s stake in the bank, declined to comment. The Financial Times earlier reported that the sale may begin as early as next week.

Lloyds shares have gained 43 percent to 68.37 pence in London this year, valuing the bank at 48.9 billion pounds.

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