City firms pitch for postal sell-off

The privatisation of Royal Mail is due to gather pace next week when a number of the City’s largest investment banks pitch for the brief to advise the postal operator on the process to inject private capital into the business.
The appointment, which could end Barclays’ two-year relationship with Royal Mail, follows reports that it has appointed a line-up of heavyweight City advisers to prepare the deal.
According to Sky News, Royal Mail’s management has drafted in Makinson Cowell, the investor relations advisory firm, and STJ Advisers, a specialist in equity markets transactions, to counsel them on the process.
It is claimed that the recruitment of specialist capital markets advisers shows that the Government will opt to pursue a stock market listing of the company, rather than a private deal.
The move has gained fresh momentum since the appointment of Michael Fallon as a minister in the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills in the autumn Government reshuffle, as well as the company’s recent rise in profits.
At the time of the results announcement, which revealed £144m operating profit, Fallon said: “”Today’s results from Royal Mail are encouraging, showing how Royal Mail staff and management together with the Government’s reforms, have put the company on the road to sustainable health and long term viability.
“Parliament decided, via the Postal Services Act 2011, to inject private capital into the company in order to secure the future of the universal postal service. The structure and timing remain open, but Government is committed to doing that to ensure the ongoing viability of the company.”

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