Goldman Sachs and UBS have been appointed to lead the flotation of Royal Mail on the London Stock Exchange later this year.
The listing is expected to value the postal service at between £2 billion and £3bn in what will be one of the biggest flotations in London this year.
The two investment banks will act as joint global co-ordinators and joint bookrunners, while Barclays and Bank of America Merrill Lynch will take on the role of bookrunners. The four banks were named in Scotland on Sunday as the likeliest to be appointed by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).
It is expected that 10 per cent of the shares issued will be distributed to Royal Mail’s 130,000 employees.
However, BIS said that ministers have made no final decision on the structure of a sale and “all options remain on the table”. This is taken to mean that Royal Mail could still be offered to a single buyer in a trade sale.
The banks will work with the UK government to prepare Royal Mail for an initial public offering (IPO). The government has pledged to protect the universal service.
Business minister Michael Fallon said: “Preparations for the sale of shares in Royal Mail continue to build momentum and these appointments represent another important step towards a sale of shares this financial year.
“While all options for the form of sale remain open, it is important that we are in a position to move ahead swiftly with our chosen route once we take the final decision.”