Press release

Review begins into IPO process for sale of government assets

Informal review launched into the way government conducts Initial Public Offerings and the process leading up to them.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


An informal review into the way government conducts Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) and the process leading up to them known as ‘bookbuilding’ has been launched today (9 July 2014). The review will consider whether other alternatives are better suited to future disposals of government assets.

The review, launched by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, was one of the recommendations made by the National Audit Office in its report into the government’s sale of Royal Mail last November (2013) and will inform future decision making in the disposal of shares owned by government.

Lord Myners will chair a panel of experts conducting the review which will examine:

  • 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.

The review will specifically look at recent UK private and public sector IPOs that have seen significant rises or falls in share trading prices following flotation. The panel will report to the Business Secretary later this year (2014).

Business Secretary Vince 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 Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is in the process of appointing a panel to support Lord Myners over the summer.

Published 9 July 2014