Lex Approached PE Firms About Buyout

(Reuters) Britain’s biggest car leasing company, Lex, has approached private equity firms about a multibillion pound buyout, the Daily Telegraph reported on Friday without citing sources.

The deal would streamline owner Lloyds Banking Group Plc’s (LLOY.L) balance sheet, the newspaper said.

The merger of Lloyds TSB and HBOS earlier this month to create Lloyds Banking Group Plc (LLOY.L) brought together Lloyds’ Autolease arm, with 129,000 vehicles, and Lex, the market leader owned by HBOS, with 251,000 vehicles.

The report said Lex managing director Jon Walden held meetings with several major private equity investors over the last six weeks to gauge support for a possible bid.

Lloyds, which is now 44 percent owned by taxpayers following HBOS’s participation in the government’s banking bailout, is under pressure to evaluate all non-core assets on its balance sheet, the Telegraph reported. (Reporting by Matt Scuffham; Editing by Andre Grenon)