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Saudi Aramco "Mega" IPO now linked with the New York Stock Exchange – I'm sure this won't be seen as "fake news" by President Trump...
A little over one year ago, the press was awash with the fact that Saudi Arabia's deputy crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, had announced plans to float Saudi Aramco, the world's largest oil producer, and that this would be a) the largest ever recorded IPO raising USD 100bn and b) value Saudi Aramco at a minimum of USD 2 trillion – yes, that's right, USD 2 trillion.
At the time I didn't choose to pass any comment about this rumoured IPO because even with my many years of observing the global M&A market and mega deals, the value seemed simply unfathomable even to me.
However, as the last year has passed it seems like the daddy of all IPOs is actually getting closer to becoming a reality. As you can imagine, the major stock exchanges around the world will be knocking themselves out trying to be the "market of choice", and so far the list of exchanges linked with the IPO reads like a who's who of global markets. According to press sources, Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Shanghai have already been ruled out, whilst London, Toronto and now New York are still in the game.
Rarely do I ever want to mix business with politics, but if New York were to be the exchange of choice for this deal, then President Trump would almost certainly have something to say about his decision not to include Saudi nationals in his recent executive order trying to ban citizens of seven Middle Eastern / African countries from entering the US and as proof of his business-orientated approach to running the US.
This potential IPO has a long way to run yet, but the announcement that JPMorgan Chase & Co, Morgan Stanley, and HSBC Holdings have been selected as lead underwriters indicates that all the parties are moving towards the starting line.
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