The South Sea Company (A)
In early 1720, the South Sea Company and the Bank of England were competing for the right to issue new shares and to exchange those shares for government bonds that were then in the hands of the public. The British government had already executed two such debt conversion with the South Sea Company. Most individuals who had converted bonds for shares in 1711 and 1719 had seen their South Sea shares appreciate in the meantime, and the government had lowered its debt servicing costs as a result of these two conversions. The conversion under consideration in 1720, however, would be on a much larger scale. In time, the South Sea Company won the bidding war, and the House of Commons approved its debt conversion plan. Now it was up to the House of Lords to approve or reject the deal.