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RBS share sale begins

The British government has started its biggest ever privatization by selling £2 billion worth of shares in Royal Bank of Scotland. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne kicked off the sale. The sale starts seven years after the bank, once the world’s biggest bank, was rescued with a record £45 billion state bailout. The sale forms part of a major privatization program that Osborne hopes will eclipse the Thatcherite boom of the 1980s and 1990s and underlines a recent thawing of relations between the government and the City of London. For RBS the move is a welcome step on the long road towards the government’s final exit from its £32 billion shareholding. The scandal-plagued bank has suffered seven consecutive annual losses as a series of dramatic restructurings transformed it from a global colossus to a much smaller domestically-focused lender.

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