UK to Sell 6% Stake in Lloyds Banking Group

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Britain has launched the sale of its shares in Lloyds Banking Group, a milestone in the country's recovery from the 2008 financial crisis.

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UK Financial Investments (UKFI), which manages the government's stake in Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland, said it would sell 6 percent of shares in Lloyds, worth 3.3 billion pounds ($5.3 billion) based on Monday's closing share price.

Britain pumped 20.5 billion pounds into Lloyds during the crisis, leaving taxpayers holding a 38.7 percent stake. The sale will reduce its stake to 32.7 percent.

The Conservative-led coalition government has been keen to commence a sale to back up Finance Minister George Osborne's assertion that the UK economy had turned a corner and that the country's strategy for restoring its part-nationalised lenders to health was working.

"We want to get the best value for the taxpayer, maximise support for the economy and restore them to private ownership. The government will only conclude a sale if these objectives are met," Osborne said.

UKFI, which manages the government's stakes in Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland, said it had agreed not to sell any more shares in the bank for a period of 90 days.

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J.P. Morgan, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and UBS are handling the sale.