Despite fierce opposition, the British government is to push ahead with its largest privatisation in decades, selling the majority of the state-owned Royal Mail postal service.
The Department for Business said a stock market flotation will take place in the coming weeks, which could value the company at up to 3.5 billion euros.
The privatisation has been given the go-ahead even though opinion polls show two thirds of Britons are opposed to it.
The Communication Workers Union, which represents most of the 150,000 Royal Mail workers is threatening strikes if an agreement cannot be reached over post-privatisation pay and conditions.
The CWU has argued that privatisation could put jobs at risk and lead to a poorer service, while the government and Royal Mail itself say it will provide access to the investment capital the firm needs to modernise its business and better compete in a thriving parcels market.
“HM Government will retain flexibility around the size of the stake to be sold, as this will be influenced by market conditions at the time of the transaction, investor demand and the objective to ensure that value for money for the taxpayer is achieved,” the government said in a statement.
Business Minister Michael Fallon, the man leading the sale, has said there was healthy demand from domestic and overseas investors in the firm.
To try to get support from the workers 10 percent of the shares will go to Royal Mail staff.
The company, which no longer includes the Post Office services and retail business, has revenue of more than nine billion pounds (10.7 billion euros) and more than doubled its profit in the year that ended on March 31, helped by a greater focus on parcels, which make up almost half its turnover.