'Not a done deal': Minister says Royal Mail sale to foreign owner may not take place

27 June 2024, 10:55 | Updated: 27 June 2024, 11:45

The Royal Mail being sold to a foreign owner is 'not a done deal', says Kevin Hollinrake

By Martha Dean

Business minister Kevin Hollinrake has said a future Tory government could intervene in the deal for Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky to take over the Royal Mail.

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He told LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast the offer from Mr Kretinsky's company, EP Group, will need to go through a National Security process before it is accepted.

"The deal is not done, that is not the situation as of today. There are other hurdles that this deal would have to cross.

"One of which is going through the National Security process that we put in place to make sure all these deals, any deal such as this, are in the national interest."

He said a future Tory government could "quite clearly" intervene and stop the deal.

"We need to look and see this if deal is in the national interest, whether it's right that the Royal Mail ends up in foreign ownership."

Read more here: The Czech is in the Post: Royal Mail accepts £3.5billion takeover bid from Czech billionaire

Read more here: Royal Mail wants to halve second class letter deliveries to three times a week under massive shake-up

Kevin Hollinrake said the deal with a Czech billionaire "might not take place".
Kevin Hollinrake said the deal with a Czech billionaire "might not take place". Picture: LBC

The Royal Mail agreed to a £3.57billon takeover offer from Mr Kretinsky last month, which would see it taken off the public markets if successful. His company already owns 27.6% of the business.

EP Group published its formal offer online on Wednesday, in a letter to shareholders. Setting out its plans for the future of Royal Mail’s owner International Distribution Services (IDS), Mr Kretinsky also revealed he is considering offering employees a stake in the business.

If the deal goes through, it will be the first time the UK's postal service is owned by a foreign company since it was created in 1516.

If the offer is accepted it would mean the UK’s postal service is taken into total foreign ownership for the first time.
If the offer is accepted it would mean the UK’s postal service is taken into total foreign ownership for the first time. Picture: Alamy

Pressed on Royal Mail's recent proposals to only deliver second class letters three times a week, Mr Hollinrake told LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast those plans are "not part of this deal" with Mr Kretinsky.

He said "Mr Kretinsky has put forward some guarantees" in terms of confidence and "this government has been very clear the universal service obligation will be maintained".

He said the Royal Mail has already put the proposal of second class letters three days a week to Ofcom, but the Conservatives are "very keen" to "indefinitely" keep a six day service, which would include the delivery of second class letters.

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