Britain defies unions with plan to sell Royal Mail in weeks

LONDON, Sept 12 (Reuters) – Britain embarked on its largest privatisation in decades on Thursday as the government unveiled plans to sell the majority of the near 500-year-old state-owned Royal Mail postal service.

The Department for Business said a stock market flotation, fiercely opposed by unions, would take place in coming weeks, giving the public a chance to buy into the company. In the largest giveaway of any major UK privatisation, 10 percent of the shares will go to Royal Mail staff.

It said the size of the sale would depend on market conditions, although it intends to dispose of a majority stake. Analysts say the float could value Royal Mail, whose roots go back to a service founded by King Henry VIII in 1516, at between 2 and 3 billion pounds ($3 to $4.7 billion).

Read more: UPDATE 3-Britain defies unions with plan to sell Royal Mail in weeks | Reuters.