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Britain to Offer Steel Firm for Sale to Public

Associated Press

The Thatcher government said today it will sell state-owned British Steel Co. to the public in late November at a price to be disclosed later.

It will be the first privatization since the sell-off of the government’s one-third stake in British Petroleum Co. PLC, which coincided with the stock market crash last fall. Analysts said they expect the sale to raise $3 billion. The $12-billion BP share sale was a flop with investors, and left underwriters holding large chunks of the stock.

Kuwait subsequently stepped in as a buyer, accumulating a 21.68% stake in the oil giant which the government this week ordered more than halved, saying such a large holding would conflict with the public interest.

15% Cap on Holdings

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The government said it will hold a special share in British Steel for five years after the sale to prevent any single holding from exceeding 15%.

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s government has sold off billions of dollars of state-owned assets to the public to promote capitalism and wider share ownership. Past sales have included British Airways, British Gas, and luxury auto maker Jaguar.


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