Saudi Aramco to sell less than 1% of shares to retail investors in potential largest IPO in history

Saudi state oil giant Aramco has revealed the date and the size of its long-anticipated initial public offering (IPO), which may become the largest in history.

In a prospectus released on Saturday, Saudi Aramco said it will offer up to 0.5 percent of its shares to individual investors, defying previous expectations of around 2 percent that were circulating in the media. The oil company said the offering will start next Sunday, November 17, and close on November 28 for individual subscribers and on December 4 for institutional investors.

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However, the exact number and percentage of the stock that the company will offer, as well as the final share price, will be determined at the end of that period, according to the document.

While reports suggested that banks have been competing to having a role in the process, the company said that the public offering is being underwritten by Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley, among other lenders.

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Analysts’ estimates of the oil giant’s valuation range between $1.2 trillion and $2.3 trillion. While some argue that the company's valuation may miss a $2 trillion valuation target, if Aramco reaches the figure, it will surpass the previous record-setting IPO reached by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba. The Chinese firm claimed the record when it raised $25 billion after going public in 2014.

The world's most profitable company officially announced that it will go public last week after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman gave it the final nod. The listing has been delayed several times since Saudi Aramco first floated the idea back in 2016.

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