Legal challenge mounted against HBOS takeover

A group of businessmen, shareholders and consumers is mounting a legal challenge aginst the government’s decision to sidestep the Competitition Commission and allow the merger of HBOS and Lloyds TSB.

The Merger Action Group has lodged an application with the Competition Appeal Tribunal alleging that Lord Mandelson’s decision on October 31 to allow the takeover was unlawful.

MAG’s spokesman is architect Malcom Fraser who was responsible for the repair of HBOS’ Edinburgh headquarters.

Fraser says: “As a group we are extremely concerned that due legal process
has been ignored. In Scotland particularly there is a widespread and growing
unease about what has taken place.

“Given that taxpayers are ultimately funding the takeover, we are simply asking
that the law is properly applied and that our long-term interests are protected.
We do not feel that is too much to ask.”

He adds: “We are not taking this step lightly but feel it is in the interests of jobs,
competition and the taxpayer that the decision must be seen to have been taken
properly. The implications are so huge that we could not comfortably stand
aside.”