Royal Mail valued at $5.3 billion ahead of hotly disputed IPO

LONDON – Britain’s government says that Royal Mail will be valued at up to 3.3 billion pounds ($5.3 billion) when it sells a majority stake in the 500-year-old service next month.

Shares are expected to be priced at between 260 pence and 330 pence, giving a market valuation of between 2.6 billion pounds and 3.3 billion pounds.

Postal unions and the government opposition have condemned the initial public offering as a “fire sale” of a lucrative state asset. Stock trading starts on Oct. 15 — a day before the Communications Workers Union strike ballot closes.

The stock sale would allow Royal Mail to tap investment that it needs to modernize and to compete, particularly in parcel delivery, a major source of income as letter use declines in favour of email.

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