The French finance ministry said starting yesterday, it would begin selling another 18 million shares in Compagnie des Machines Bull SA. It will reserve 14.6 million shares for institutions, 1.6 million for private investors and 1.8 million for the finance ministry’s staff, which at the current share price would raise about $164m for the government. The sale will reduce the direct shareholding of the state to around 17% from 30.5%, putting it on about the same footing as Bull’s other main shareholders, (state- owned) France Telecom SA, NEC Corp and Motorola Inc. The sale of 18 million shares will increase the liquidity of the shares. A reservation period for institutional investors started yesterday. The selling price for the shares will be set by the ministry after the initial reservation period.