Government IPOs to be reviewed after Royal Mail sell off criticism

Lynsey Barber
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Vince Cable announces a review of government sell off (Source: Getty)

Business secretary Vince Cable has launched a review of the way the government conducts IPOs after the controversy surrounding its sell off of Royal Mail.

The review, led by City grandee Lord Myners, will look at the disposal of government assets and assess if there are alternatives.

It will also look at:

  • What alternative IPO methods are available to government, including when there is a requirement for a retail offer.
  • Whether alternative means of bookbuilding should be considered in future government share disposals and in what circumstances these should be considered.
  • Whether measures could be taken to improve the current bookbuilding process for government sales.

Announcing the review, Cable said: “I have asked Lord Myners to conduct this review, following the recommendations of the National Audit Office, to help me assess whether changes are needed to the current system government operates for the sale of its assets.Lord Myners is uniquely qualified to carry out this work – with a background in government and the City. I look forward to reviewing his findings and recommendations in due course.

The government had been accused of selling of Royal Mail too cheaply after shares jumped almost 40 per cent on its first day of trading.

A report by the National Audit Office found that ministers in charge of the sell off were too cautious in setting the sale price.

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