Royal Mail shares soar on first day of conditional trading

Conditional trading of Royal Mail shares began this morning, with the price soaring almost 30%. The pre-float price of the shares were set at 330p per share, which promptly rose to 450p within minutes of the opening trades.

This rapid increase will further the debate as to whether the government undervalued the Royal Mail in what was the biggest privatisation for decades.

YouGov has been monitoring Royal Mail’s coverage on Twitter during the privatisation process, and the company’s coverage in recent days has been astonishing.

Beginning with analysis on the day that Vince Cable announced that Royal Mail workers will receive free shares, YouGov’s social media analysis tool, SoMA, demonstrated that 45.9% of UK Twitter heard about Royal Mail on that day.

Our next piece of analysis was published on 16 September, following the government’s formal declaration to the London Stock Exchange that it intended to privatise the Royal Mail on 12 September. That announcement drove a significant increase in Royal Mail’s reach – with 51% of UK Twitter users hearing about the brand on that day.

Our final analysis prior to the IPO came on 4 October where we noted that that 12.1% of UK Twitter users had heard about the Royal Mail following the revelation that demand for the shares was exceptionally strong, prompting the price bracket for the shares to be shifted upward.

The Royal Mail’s stock market debut today has caused the biggest increase in the privatised company’s Twitter coverage. On each day this week at least 20% of UK Twitter users have seen a mention of the Royal Mail on their private feeds.

However, the number of users that saw a mention of Royal Mail dramatically increased yesterday and continued today. Yesterday 47.5% of UK Twitter users heard a mention of the Royal Mail, while so far today 52% of users have seen a mention of the Royal Mail. This data indicates that in the last two days the company has reached more Twitter users than at any other point in recent months.

Interestingly it is worth noting the demographic groups that have been exposed to a mention of the company in the last two days. Of those that have heard about the Royal Mail 57% are male, 16% live in London and 18% earn £50k+.

The reaction on Twitter to the privatisation has been mixed. While many, particularly the Communications Workers Union, have been opposed to the move, we know that demand for the shares far outstripped supply. It is therefore interesting to look at the verbatim tweets to get an idea of the type of messages people are consuming on Twitter.

While some tweets were negative in nature:

  • ‘Royal Mail shares pop 38% in debut: a blatant transfer of value from taxpayers to investors. Embarrassing for UK government, underwriters’
  • ‘Royal Mail has been hugely undervalued and sold off on the cheap by Tories. Cost to renationalise could be extortionate. #RoyalMailDisaster’
  • ‘Royal Mail sold cheaply to those involved in causing the global financial crisis. Therefore the tax-payer is shafted again. #Toriesatwork’

Others were far more positive:

  • ‘Tasty profit on Royal Mail shares’
  • ‘Royal Mail gets off to a right Royal start and will boost the savings and retirement plans of millions

Learn more about SoMA

Image courtesy of Getty

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