Thyssenkrupp is considering listing its steel division on the stock market amid mounting opposition to a potential sale to Liberty Steel Group, according to people familiar with the matter.
Thyssenkrupp executives are studying the idea of handing existing shareholders stock in the steel unit, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.
A spinoff would represent yet another twist in Thyssenkrupp's years-long effort to find a lasting solution for its steel unit, which employs about 27,000 people and is one of the leading metal suppliers to Germany's auto industry.
Some supervisory board members have called on Thyssenkrupp to explore an alternative to the Liberty sale after union officials and some large shareholders raised concerns, the people said.
Some of them pointed to a similar transaction that did not end well for the Essen, Germany-based company, which in 2012 sold its stainless steel unit Inoxum to Outokumpu Oyj only to buy back some assets a year later.
The considerations come ahead of a binding bid Sanjeev Gupta's Liberty plans to make later this month, the people said.
No final decisions have been made on whether to opt for a sale or spinoff of the unit, the people said.
Developing the business by itself remains an option for Thyssenkrupp, a spokesperson for the steelmaker said, declining to further comment.
A spokesman for Liberty declined to comment.
Thyssenkrupp has confirmed it's in talks with London-based Liberty over a sale of the division, which has been struggling amid a global steel glut and large pension deficits.