By Joe Mellor, In house Reporter
Receiving “snail” mail was just getting trendy again. Teenagers were sitting by the letter box waiting for their next Silk Road delivery to arrive.
Now it’s all over; the drug market site has been shut down and the Royal Mail has been privatised.
By the time a new version of Silk Road is launched, the cost of posting will be astronomical. The kids will have to go back to buying illicit substances from the skin head in the Nova outside school.
Sad times indeed.
The government saw the demand for Royal Mail shares as evidence of a renewed thirst for Thatcher-style “popular capitalism”.
Business secretary Vince Cable told parliament he’ll sell Royal Mail to “responsible long-term institutional investors”, not “spivs and speculators.”
Well that hasn’t quite worked. A hedge fund called The Children’s Investment Fund (not as nice as it sounds) snapped up more shares in Royal Mail than any other investor. The second largest was GIC Private, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, which disclosed a 4.1 per cent stake.
Hardly Marjorie and Tony from next-door.
However, it is true a lot of the general population bought the £750 maximum and made a few hundred quid in a day.
But after two weeks trading 440 million shares (84 per cent) of the total issued had been sold.
How many of the little people’s shares were hovered up by corporate fat cats?
It appears that offering shares to small investors offered a smoke screen, so “serious” investors could get a proper slice of the action.
Vultures feeding on a dying carcass will never turn down a free meal.
Luckily for them, they will not have to circle for long for their next feed.
The government are considering offering the state-owned Urenco uranium enrichment company and £45.6 billion of student loans to the market.
Good news for terrorists, bad news for students.
Are any of our national institutions sacred anymore?
All we will have left is the royal family; maybe we should sell them off to hedge funds and private investors as well.
Rich investors could own three per cent of Prince Charles; some of his shin bone maybe.
The Royal Mail has only ever had one owner – HM Government. So establishing how much it worth could only ever be an art rather than a science. Or the work of a snake oil salesman.
It appears that the 500-year-old national institution – dating back to Henry VIII – was massively undervalued.
Chuka Umunna, Labour’s shadow business secretary, stated: “Royal Mail is being sold off on the cheap with taxpayers being short-changed to the tune of hundreds of millions of pounds.”
JP Morgan, one of the world’s largest investment banks, said they could sell the postal business for £10 billion, around two and a half times more than the government finally received for it.
Instead they selected Lazard as its independent adviser, before deciding to dispose of 60 per cent of Royal Mail at a price of £3.3 billion.
I don’t think anyone reading this will own a billion pound institution, but imagine selling your car. If one dealer said they could get you £1,000 and the other £2,500, which one would you go with?
Of course this advice wasn’t free. £17 million was nabbed by banks for advice on Royal Mail’s flotation and £29 million profit was made by the banks on Royal Mail shares they were permitted to buy before the flotation.
One of the last times a major public service was sold off was British Gas is the 80’s. Of course, a few people made a quick profit, but now rising energy prices means people are choosing to eat or heat.
What are the odds in ten years’ time the Royal Mail executives are called into a select committee hearing after a rallying cry from the public about excessive costs?
Probably from some of the same people who made a profit in back in the gold rush of 2013.
During the selloff Royal Mail workers were given 725 shares, worth £3,545. However, most see them as a sweetener to inevitable job losses.
“You may as well whack that money on my redundancy package mate”, might well be the cry from the post room.
A strike from the 110,000 workforce was narrowly averted, but for how long?
Heading for the picket lines will only play into the Government and shareholders hands. “We gave them FREE money and they treat us like this.”
A “militant” workforce is always easier to sack.
The workers are signing, posting and delivering their own death warrant, but what else can they do?
I wonder how many will still work in the postal trade when they have to cash in their shares to pay to heat their homes.
And who will buy up those shares? The very institutions who demanded job cuts to boost profitability.
To use a quote borrowed from the Thick Of It, “It’s like being in a therapy group being run by my own rapist”.
The original silk road trading route allowed exotic goods to reach the European market from the far east.
During the years of battling privatisation, the safety of postal workers jobs has been on a slow boat to China, which is finally nearing port.