Royal Mail could be sold to foreign buyer - report

LONDON Sun May 12, 2013 1:45pm BST

MP Michael Fallon arrives at Downing Street in London, September 4, 2012. REUTERS/Neil Hall

MP Michael Fallon arrives at Downing Street in London, September 4, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Neil Hall

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LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Royal Mail could fall into foreign hands if trade unions continue to fight plans to launch an initial public offering (IPO) of shares on the London Stock Exchange, Britain's Observer newspaper reported.

In an interview with the paper, British business minister Michael Fallon said that several overseas buyers had expressed "significant interest" in buying the 497-year-old postal service.

He added that Royal Mail boss Moya Greene had already embarked on a global roadshow promoting the business to sovereign wealth funds, foreign trade buyers and institutional investors.

Fallon said that the government's preferred option for the state-owned company is for a stock market listing, with postal workers granted 10 percent of the shares.

"Royal Mail have been testing investor appetite here, in Canada and the United States," Fallon is quoted as saying.

"Our preference is for an IPO, but if that's not possible we would look at alternatives as sovereign wealth funds or other institutional investors."

Royal Mail was unavailable for comment.

(Reporting by Rhys Jones; Editing by David Goodman)

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