Saudi Aramco Plans $25.6B Share Sale in Record-Breaking IPO

The IPO, which is the largest in history, would value the company at $1.7 trillion.
Lauren MuskettDecember 6, 2019
Saudi Aramco Plans $25.6B Share Sale in Record-Breaking IPO

Saudi state-owned oil monopoly Saudi Aramco set prices for its initial public offering, which is set to be the largest in history.

Aramco said it would sell three billion shares at $8.53 per share to raise $25.6 billion in its much-anticipated IPO. The IPO values Aramco at about $1.7 trillion, making it the most valuable publicly traded company in the world.

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The oil giant will be valued higher than Apple, which is valued about $1.15 trillion. The IPO is the largest in history, ahead of Alibaba’s $25 billion IPO in 2014.

Aramco could raise as much as $29.4 billion, if an option to sell more shares is exercised.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman reportedly sought a $2 trillion valuation for the company to fund plans to transition the Kingdom away from oil. In 2018, the Saudi government suggested selling 5% of the company to raise $100 billion.

“Aramco will be higher than the $2 trillion, and they can bet that this will happen,” Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said. Abdulaziz said the company would reach that valuation “in a few months.”

The IPO was reportedly more than 4.6 times oversubscribed, with institutional investors bidding $106 billion to participate, but demand from overseas institutions was not disclosed.

Climate risks and concerns about the Saudis’ human rights record may have dampened enthusiasm among international investors.

“When this was announced, the Saudis and the crown prince, in particular, were looking for something that was going to put Aramco on the international investor map and that clearly hasn’t happened,” said Charles Hollis, director at the intelligence consultancy Falanx.

Last month, Aramco canceled a planned international roadshow.

“Considering its core business and the impact of its contribution to global emissions, and following our responsible investment policy, we have no interest or plan to invest in Saudi Aramco,” a spokesperson for Canadian investor Financiere des professionals said in a statement. The firm has a 2.15% stake in Saudi stocks through its FDP Emerging Markets Equity Portfolio A fund.

Stanislav Krasilnikov\TASS via Getty Images