This huge single sale was the largest auction Linklaters & Alliance has handled for Lloyds TSB. The firm's decades' old relationship with the bank has long since grown out of corporate to encompass other areas of the firm. Partner Christopher Coombe manages the relationship for real estate and has advised the bank on all its recent sale-and-leaseback deals, including four auctions. But this time the successful bidders were mostly private investors, rather than property companies, who preferred to buy the bank's freehold rather than place their money on deposit. The auction was hugely oversubscribed and Linklaters saw a high number of approaches in the run-up as well as handling inquiries on the day. The 99 branches involved were spread across the UK. Lloyds TSB will continue to operate the branches on specially drafted, short but institutionally acceptable leasebacks put in place by Linklaters. The leases run for 10 years and are non-assignable.