Royal Mail privatisation by mid-October
27 September 2013 Last updated at 23:05 BST
Shares in Royal Mail will be sold by mid-October, with privatisation complete by 15 October - before the company's workers have a chance to strike over the move.
On Friday postal workers began voting on whether to take industrial action to oppose the plan.
Members of the public can apply for a minimum of £750 shares online until 8 October, while eligible Royal Mail employees can apply for a minimum of £500.
John Moylan reports.