Ray Boulger, senior technical adviser at Charcol, says: “It obviously got to the stage where HBOS has to put a bid in or withdraw. Competition would have been a major factor and it would have almost certainly been put to the competition authorities, which would have meant
a significant amount of management time taken up with it.”
Boulger also likens HBOS's bid to the one that Morrisons made for Safeways. Once the bid had been made, the competition commision took it to referral, spurring other chains such as ASDA to make a bid.
He adds: “If HBOS had bid I would have surprised if it didn't flush out any one else, and it will be interesting now to see if anyone comes forward in the light of this. But I suspect that Santander will now be given a clear run, which is good news for staff.”
Bob Riach, proprietor at Riach Independent Financial Advisers, says: “I would have preffered if it had gone to HBOS, as it is British. I'm not sure about Banco Santander. However, on the other hand, HBOS is too big already.”
And Mike Fry, director at Halton Insurance Services, says: “I wasn't surprised when I heard the news, I thought it was a foregone conclusion. It would have been good if Abbey could have kept it in the UK, but it was never going to happen. Overall it is is probably a good thing, because HBOS own enough already.”