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Eddie Mair | 13:34 UK time, Wednesday, 17 September 2008

1334: Full text of the HBOS announcement, made via the Stock Exchange:

"In the light of market speculation, the Board of HBOS plc confirms that it is in advanced talks with Lloyds TSB Group plc which may or may not lead to an offer being made for HBOS.

A further announcement will be made when appropriate."

Robert Peston's stuff, as mentioned by Nils is here.


  • 1. At 1:39pm on 17 Sep 2008, U10783173 wrote:

    I have 200 HBOS shares. Do you think I will make enough money to allow me to go out to pasture?

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  • 2. At 1:42pm on 17 Sep 2008, DI_Wyman wrote:

    TiH, yes easily..for a day or two!

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  • 3. At 1:46pm on 17 Sep 2008, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    Horse (1):

    Maybe enough to buy a pint of pasteurised milk.

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  • 4. At 1:52pm on 17 Sep 2008, mygloriousleader wrote:

    I know I know, let's take two big faceless banking organisations and merge them together to make one huge faceless banking organisation...
    Let's use the money we've just had drop into our begging bowl by the Bank of England because we've mis stated (a simple error) our position and painted it much worse than it is to get our greedy mitts on that lovely cheap state money....

    This makes me feel physically sick reading about it.
    I'm going to lie down now.

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  • 5. At 2:50pm on 17 Sep 2008, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Schadenfreude is a major plank in my platform!

    Zimbabwe, Here We Come!
    Al Gore is smiling

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  • 6. At 4:56pm on 17 Sep 2008, Big Sister wrote:

    Isn't it time to prune the hedge funds?

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  • 7. At 5:30pm on 17 Sep 2008, Thunderbird wrote:

    If you have a Halifax mortgage, are they going to let you off?

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  • 8. At 5:35pm on 17 Sep 2008, U13138333 wrote:

    I play a fantasy trading game online, and do a bit of amateur trading, this morning I logged into my account and used 'financial spread bets' to make £75,340 in 17 minutes betting on HBOS share price falling. And on my real trading platform I made £8,300 from a kitty of £900. Anyone can bet on share prices falling, not just hedge funds, even Paddy Power et al sell FSB's and CFD'S (Contracts for difference)
    You can also lose it just as easy if you don't know what your doing...still it was fun and very lucrative, if HBOS was so safe why did everyone lose confidence in it, it was due to announce more write-downs in the near future

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  • 9. At 5:37pm on 17 Sep 2008, brightEileenO wrote:

    In these troubled times, financial experts always refer to the Government's guaranteed repayment of deposits up to £35000 where a bank goes to the wall - we never hear about the National Savings and Investment Bank - my understanding is that any amount deposited here is guaranteed by the Government as it is backed by the Treasury - I understand that the rates of interest are not quite as lucrative as other banks but could someone confirm that my understanding is correct please - confused saver...

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  • 10. At 5:49pm on 17 Sep 2008, U13138333 wrote:

    One the subject of owning shares, I think you need to remember there is little real difference between a day at the races and a day on the markets, it just pure gambling, so why buy a racehorse and take all that risk when you can just bet on its final position?
    That is what is happening with the like of HBOS and now Goldmann sachs.
    I personally think if we live in a capitalist society then all is fair in love and markets...

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  • 11. At 6:03pm on 17 Sep 2008, robert wrote:

    I have money invested in Halifax. Now TSB have found it I will move it out of Halifax to somewhere with a better reputation than TSB.

    Rob Nottingham

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  • 12. At 6:20pm on 17 Sep 2008, YetminsterYokel wrote:

    Northern Rock crashed, Robert Peston broke the story ... HBOS falls prey to Lloyds, and again Peston broke the story ... is there a pattern emerging? If I see him hanging around the local branch of NatWest I'm taking my money out ...

    Though I'd panic more if Orla Guerin flies in - she always means trouble.

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  • 13. At 6:23pm on 17 Sep 2008, littlepoint wrote:

    My dealing with HBOS
    1.They sold me an endowment policy.Shortfall projected thousands of pounds.
    2.I took 6 months to settle an insurance claim fro storm damage to house.
    3.Cancelled direct debit without my consent.
    4.My mortgage was in arrears due to missed payment,see 3

    5.I have moved to another bank!!!!!!

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  • 14. At 6:59pm on 17 Sep 2008, Big Sister wrote:

    It Is Me: Do you have your own website yet? ;o)

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  • 15. At 7:23pm on 17 Sep 2008, OwenTheSheep wrote:

    It was highly entertaining to hear Eddie ask investment banker(ex?)
    David Freud on PM tonight to explain naked shorting.
    Apparently it had been suggested by a listener that shorts should go to prison!
    David Freud said that shorting wasn’t much different from taking a long position, and then tried to change the subject to discussing "the herd mentality"
    Then Eddie pressed him on "naked shorting"
    David Freud bumbled about in an incredibly incomprehensible way saying in the end that naked shorting was just betting that the price would go down (which is what ordinary shorting is)
    It seemed he just could not bring himself to say that naked shorters are selling shares they don't own and have not even borrowed from someone else.
    How can this practice possibly be justified?
    (This site is reasonably understandable if you don't know yet about shorting,

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  • 16. At 7:28pm on 17 Sep 2008, mittfh wrote:

    I've got an idea...

    Next time some banking bigwig appears on the media and says "We're fine!", place a bet (financial if you wish) that what they really mean is "We're in deep piles of smelly brown stuff".

    On the lighter side of the merger, what will they call themselves and what will their new logo be?

    When Halifax merged with the Bank of Scotland, they also merged the names and did a reasonable job of merging the logos.

    When Lloyds married TSB, they gave the horse a makeover and coloured the sky blue (well, when TSB's logo could be drawn by a five year old...).

    Somehow I don't think HBOSLTSB or LTSBHBOS would make good acronyms, and you can't exactly merge a Welsh Cobb with a cross unless you either kill it or subject it to a branding iron...

    So I suppose they'll have to invent a silly name and logo - probably monochrome as they'll want to print all their stationary on B/W printers to pretend that it'll make a big difference to their expenditure (when in reality closing duplicate branches will have a bigger effect - although given the current crisis the closed branches will probably be unoccupied for months/years, with big ugly wooden boards covering the hole left behind by the removal of the ATM).

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  • 17. At 7:52pm on 17 Sep 2008, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    mittfh (16):

    Call it LLOTSBBOSH.

    The adverts could then run, "Got lots dosh? Stick it in LLOTSBBOSH!"

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  • 18. At 7:54pm on 17 Sep 2008, angst60 wrote:

    The late lamented Screaming Lord Sutch used to complain that it was irrational to have only one Monopolies Commission. Has the Government now decided to adopt a similar principle and set itself up in competition with the Competition Commission?

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  • 19. At 8:15pm on 17 Sep 2008, OwenTheSheep wrote:

    I don't know what HBOS executives will get but look at this ... todays Guardian.

    Merrill Lynch ... Highlights

    "... newly recruited chief executive, John Thain, stands to share a $200m (£111.4m) payout with two senior lieutenants for less than a year's work which culminated this week in the bank surrendering its 94-year-old independence."

    "If he leaves in Bank of America's takeover, he stands to get a further $11m in accelerated stock payouts."

    "Thain reportedly fought back tears at a meeting to brief staff on Merrill's buyout this week."

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  • 20. At 8:23pm on 17 Sep 2008, Anne Maria wrote:

    It is just restructuring the financial houses with out the worry of the monopolies board objecting. At the idea trillions of pound are owed; it all sound monopoly money to me.

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  • 21. At 9:38pm on 17 Sep 2008, ValeryP wrote:

    SSC - you have me laughing, as usual.

    Sadly, I'm with Horse on the shareowning front, not particularly out of choice, more out of sentimentality (always a bad idea where economics are concerned) inertia and procrastination. Dad was a B of S branch manager in the 50s and 60s when it was a Bank to be reckoned with, and Mum was a teller there until she retired. (They could expect to have to stay behind for hours if the daily balance was a (old) halfpenny out - now there's pedantry for you)

    However, it was all down hill from the time of the merger with that Building Society - everything went wrong from the customers' point of view, everything. I moved my accounts eventually. Should have sold the shares at the same time :-(

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  • 22. At 10:35pm on 17 Sep 2008, U10783173 wrote:

    Hmmm. I've just watched Robert Peston's piece on the BBC News tonight.

    I guess somebody is going to have to make a call sometime as to whether he is a plus or a liability. The extraordinary vocal hyperbole, the rolling eyes and overuse of rhetorical questions makes me think that he adds more to the problem than defining or describing it.

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  • 23. At 00:26am on 18 Sep 2008, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    Val, I go a long way back with BoS, but never owned any. I did ken yin or twa of the high hied yins on a time - the yins who managed the incorporation of the British Linen Bank....

    I second your comments about it's decline from a user's point of view, and have a long record of trying to remind them who is supposed to be working for who.


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  • 24. At 09:27am on 18 Sep 2008, ValeryP wrote:

    Horse - I always want to reach into the radio or television and press the fast forward on his voice - he must deny others valuable broadcasting time! Last night's performance was very confusing, as he looked like he was trying to provide simultaneous sign language - without the skill. I find the whole performance so distracting that I lose the gist of his message.

    Ed - Grrrr! indeed.

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  • 25. At 09:38am on 18 Sep 2008, OwenTheSheep wrote:

    The BBC (news 24 hours I think it was) had on another pundit last night to explain short selling

    His justification was that since shares in a failing company would go down by longs selling, short selling was just doing the same and therefore should not be objected to (my recollection)

    Naked short selling is like going on E-bay with a photo of a Stradivarius violin, selling the violin for £1,000,000 ... then after pocketing the money you say to the buyer, "Well I haven't got the violin just yet but I'm sure I'll be able to get one in the future, just waiting for the price to go down."

    Isn't this fraud?

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  • 26. At 11:26am on 18 Sep 2008, mygloriousleader wrote:

    (25) Owen. Yes it is fraud to normal people but to those in the banking fraternity ...(black is white and white is black depending on whose version of the truth you believe)...they seem to have an altered reality and seem to be proud of it.

    Now with the banks if they say one thing, I believe the opposite.

    I'm wondering which bank is Gordy lining up to work for when he is ousted later this year...

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  • 27. At 11:38am on 18 Sep 2008, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    MGL (26):

    The thing about short-selling is that it can have a very beneficial effect on liquidity (keeping the money going round and round) with is A Good Thing for markets. Properly regulated short-selling shouldn't be a problem, but the nuddy short selling that's being going on is right out of order.

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  • 28. At 12:01pm on 18 Sep 2008, mittfh wrote:

    MGL (26) - surely Gordon would have a lucrative career available for him at NS&I? :) Especially since according to Wikipedia investments in NS&I constitute about 12% of the UK's national debt.

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  • 29. At 1:25pm on 18 Sep 2008, mygloriousleader wrote:

    (28) Mittfh Very good point but what I was thinking was that he gave away control of the BoE, there's obviously been some treacly deal with the current takeover... by whom for the benefit of whom... He's going to be needing a job Soon...Very Soon... I was wondering whether we'll see him on various boards in a couple of years.

    No surely not.

    (Don't call me surely)

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  • 30. At 1:26pm on 18 Sep 2008, thenicecatlady wrote:

    I repeat from my comment yesterday. On Tuesday the boss of HBOS said there was nothing wrong and yet today on the BBC News 24 website LTSB says that the take over is not something that has been trumped up (my words not LTSB but they mean the same) but that talks have been going on for some time.

    As I said yesterday smells like something in the farmyard to me

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  • 31. At 1:37pm on 18 Sep 2008, mygloriousleader wrote:

    (27) Cat. I have to say that I do not understand how a business that does not actually Make Something is worth a fig. Liquidity? bah humbug. The current financial problems were completely forseen. There are those who are doing very nicely in the current climate. As usual the casualties are the ordinary people in the street.
    I predict a revolution. Poll tax riots? Merely a blip on what is to come. Why do you think there has been an erosion of civil liberties over the Noolabor years. Control. Stamp out any protests and use 911, (tragic as those deaths were, but in proportion, more innocent people are killed on the UK roads each year), as an excuse to impose laws similar to Stalinist ones.
    Imprisonment without trial.
    Extradition to the US for crimes with no reciprocal arrangement
    Curfew without trial
    No wonder the teenagers in Wales commit suicide. What have they to look forward to next. The Gulag?
    This is not my Britain.

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  • 32. At 1:44pm on 18 Sep 2008, theotherdaughter wrote:

    T'bird @ 7

    You aren't going to get let off your Halifax mortgage any more than I got let off my Northern Rock one - sorry!


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  • 33. At 1:52pm on 18 Sep 2008, thenicecatlady wrote:

    (31) mgl I absolutely agree with you. I've just been reading some of the comments on the News 24 page and it strikes me that we are all fed up with these amoral, incompetant and thieving financiers who, having destroyed the economy with their amoral, incompetant and thieving behaviour, will now snuffle off with their snouts dripping to go and live off their vast amounts of wealth that has been secreted in off shore accounts and Swiss numbered accounts, whilst the rest of us pick up the pieces.

    All the senior board members of HBOS as well as executive directors and senior managers should have all their accounts frozen and be charged with deliberate incompitence and mal practise.

    Their is something very rotten in the state of the finance industry.

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  • 34. At 2:51pm on 18 Sep 2008, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    MGL (31):

    "I have to say that I do not understand how a business that does not actually Make Something is worth a fig."

    I take it you don't use banks then? Or insure anything? They certainly don't make anything physical, they don't even provide a tangible service like distributing something someone else has made to you. They *do* perform a service.

    So do the other financial institutions, even though you may not see what they do directly.

    thenicecatlady (33):

    "...amoral, incompetant and thieving financiers..."
    You know, I'm starting to get quite sick of that stereotype. Yes, there are scum floating at the top of most of these institutions who get paid obscene amounts of money, but that goes for any large company now. 99% of the people who work (now increasingly "worked") for those companies are just like you and I, competent, hard-working, just-trying-to-pay-the-bills people.

    If there is anyone I blame for this mess apart from the fatcats and the speculators, it's the ordinary, down-your-street people who have taken up far too much debt, flying in the face of common sense even if they don't understand the basic finance concept espoused by Mr Micawber:

    "Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery."

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  • 35. At 3:13pm on 18 Sep 2008, Ed Iglehart wrote:

    I'm with Micawber!

    "You know, I'm starting to get quite sick of that stereotype. Yes, there are scum floating at the top of most of these institutions"
    "Society is like a stew - If you don't keep it stirred up, you get a lot of scum on top!" -- Ed Abbey


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  • 36. At 3:39pm on 18 Sep 2008, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    Didn't Micawber get out of the country in the end?

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  • 37. At 6:41pm on 18 Sep 2008, SwanningAbout wrote:

    Don't worry everybody. Gordon's going to sort it out and make sure the financial institituoins put their houses in order to prevent this happening in the future.

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  • 38. At 6:48pm on 18 Sep 2008, SwanningAbout wrote:

    instititiuoins? What am I on?

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  • 39. At 7:14pm on 18 Sep 2008, OwenTheSheep wrote:

    Hot News !!!! This'll get the pigs squealing !!!!!

    Thurs 18 Sept 2008

    LONDON (AP) — Britain's Financial Services Authority says it is temporarily banning short-selling of shares in publicly-traded financial companies.

    The FSA says the new rule will take effect at midnight local time.

    The rule will remain in place until Jan. 16, 2009, but the FSA said it would review the situation again after 30 days and may extend the ban to other sectors.

    FSA chief executive Hector Sants says his organization still regards short-selling as a legitimate investment technique, but he says "extreme circumstances" have required new rules to protect against further financial turmoil.

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  • 40. At 9:16pm on 18 Sep 2008, pgtk459 wrote:

    I know that the people at HBOS are probably feeling very dejected at the moment but I am afraid that when it comes to the high earners withing that company, I can hold no sympathy for them, they went out in pursuit of high bonuses and they took the risks, well now those actions have backfired and these people, along with those lower down the payscale are suffering, it's those who work in the high street branches that I feel sorry for because this mess is none of their making.
    City traders are responsible for ALL of the problems in the finacial industry today, not just here but overseas but governments can't seem to see this although perhaps they might just be waking up to this fact, we will recover from this fiasco but it will take time but in order to prevent it from ever happening again, governemnts need to regulate thi industry, pehaps a global organisation much like the UN but for the finance industry can be established and then all countries that trade on world markets would have to sign up to a code of practice and abide by very stringent regulations designed for the very purpose of preventing a reoccurence of recent events. Some very big names in the industry have had the wind knocked out of them and for what my opinion is worth, it serves them right, the average wage for a trader at Lehman Brothers was in excess of $350,000, that is not including bonuses, wages like that are obsene and only encourage greed by risk taking, perhaps any new body could regulate that and realistic salaries could be paid instead, traders have had the high life for too long and now they are having the fall, I hope that world governments never allow them to get sdo high again, responsible governments will see sense in what I say amd who knows, maybe they will call a summit and debate it, I live in hope.

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  • 41. At 10:23pm on 18 Sep 2008, needsanewnickname wrote:

    Anyone fancy a trip to Darien?

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  • 42. At 10:25pm on 18 Sep 2008, needsanewnickname wrote:

    Tulips! Get yer luvverly tulips 'ere!

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  • 43. At 10:28pm on 18 Sep 2008, needsanewnickname wrote:

    Actually I blame 'Thespian' Preston. He may have the Evil Eye

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  • 44. At 10:45pm on 18 Sep 2008, needsanewnickname wrote:

    Peston. Peston. Not that nice Peter Preston.


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  • 45. At 10:48pm on 18 Sep 2008, U10783173 wrote:

    Yep - It's Peston.

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  • 46. At 11:03pm on 18 Sep 2008, needsanewnickname wrote:

    Peston, is it???


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