Saudi Aramco IPO Primes to be Largest in History
Saudi Arabia plans to sell to private investors about 1 billion shares – or “up to 0.5%” of those currently owned by the government – as part of the state-run Aramco oil company’s Initial Public Offering. The corporation over the weekend released a prospectus informing investors that they have from November 17-28 to put in requests for shares, although the 650-page document did not reveal the precise number that will be made available or their price. While those decisions will be finalized by December 4, many analysts believe the IPO will be the largest ever, surpassing the $25 billion raised by Alibaba when it listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Varying estimates peg Aramco’s total value between $1.2 trillion and $2.3 trillion. By comparison, Exxon Mobil, the US’ biggest oil conglomerate, has a market capitalization of about $300 billion. Saudi Arabia plans to float Aramco’s shares on its own stock exchange – known as the Tadawul – by the end of the year. There is widespread speculation that Riyadh will offer additional shares on a major international exchange at a later date.