Lloyds Bank Sells Its Halifax Estate Agencies Arm for just $1.60

Apparently, the American housing market is not the only one experiencing difficulties.  In the United Kingdom, Lloyds Banking Group Plc has sold its unprofitable chain of 218 Halifax Estate Agencies, Ltd., a large British residential real estate brokerage firm, to LSL Property Services Plc for just £1 – about $1.60.

According to Lloyds, the sale “follows a strategic review undertaken by the group which concluded that an estate agency operation is no longer integral to its business model.”  LSL, which owns the Your Move chain of real estate agencies, will become Britain’s second largest real estate agency.  LSL intends to re-brand the Halifax name with its own.  Simon Embley, LSL’s CEO, notes that Lloyds is leaving £22.2 million pounds on Halifax’s balance sheet.  “It enables us to carry out a restructuring of this business, which it’s in pretty desperate need for,” Embley said.

Lloyds is considering issuing new shares and selling assets to avert an insurance program that would give the British government a majority share in the bank.  Additionally, the European Union might force Lloyds to sell assets and branches to reduce its 30 percent share in the British checking-account market.