London - Business Secretary Vince Cable said on Wednesday the British government estimated it had received more than 700,000 applications for shares in Royal Mail, reflecting huge demand for the country's largest privatisation in decades.
Despite the threat of strike action from delivery staff and criticism from the opposition Labour party, the government is close to completing the sale of a majority stake in the company, which is almost 500 years old.
Order books on the privatisation closed on Tuesday with the selloff expected to value the firm at around 3.3 billion pounds ($5.31 billion), which is at the top of the target price range.
“We haven't yet got the final figures but my very rough estimate is that we've had about 700,000 applications and it's about seven times oversubscribed,” Cable told a parliamentary committee. - Reuters