Deutsche Telekom, Europe's biggest phone company, is targeting small investors around Europe with a package of incentives to buy half its planned 10.8bn euro (pounds 7bn) share sale. However the shares, on sale in June, will only be offered within the euro zone.
Deutsche Telekom is credited with having single-handedly triggered an equity culture in Germany when the government sold 28 per cent of the company three years ago.
This time, in a move some see as an attempt to counter hostility to its takeover of Telecom Italia, Telekom has widened the retail tranche to include non-Germans and recruited 37 banks in eight other European countries to sell shares, in addition to the group led by Dresdner Kleinwort Benson, Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs, which will co-ordinate share sales to institutional fund managers.
Retail investors who order shares early will get a discount of between 2 and 5 per cent off the price used to sell shares to institutions. Small investors will also get an extra share for every 10 they buy.
Joachim Kroeske, finance director, said: "We will ensure that each [potential] shareholder has the same chance, regardless of nationality."