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Saudi Aramco Names First Japanese Bookrunner For Giant IPO

Saudi Aramco has picked SMBC Nikko Securities to be a bookrunner of its much-hyped much-delayed initial public offering (IPO)—the first Japanese financial company to land a role in what would be the world’s largest listing in history, Reuters reported on Thursday, quoting three sources.

Aramco has already given leading roles in its share listing to nine of the world’s largest banks. The winners in the world’s largest share sale who will act as joint global coordinators are JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, Citi, HSBC, and Saudi Arabia’s National Commercial Bank and Samba, Reuters reported earlier this month.

The selection of a Japanese bookrunner, SMBC Nikko Securities, comes as speculation and reports have it that the Saudi state oil giant may be leaning toward Tokyo as the international venue of the IPO.

At the end of August, The Wall Street Journal reported that the Saudis were leaning toward Tokyo and shunning London because of the Brexit uncertainty and Hong Kong because of the protests.

Another more recent sign emerged that Aramco may be seriously thinking about Tokyo. The chief executive of Japan Exchange Group, which owns the Tokyo stock exchange, has said that the group had contacted Saudi Aramco and was left with the impression that the Saudis are proceeding with the listing plan, Japanese Jiji Press reported on Thursday.

Amid reports that Saudi Arabia has moved to speed up the listing of Aramco and amid conflicting reports about the impact of the attacks on Saudi oil on what would be the world’s largest IPO ever, one of the latest reports coming out of the Kingdom is that Aramco is set to announce as soon as next month its intention to proceed with the initial public offering.

Aramco will officially announce its intention to sell shares on the stock market at some point around October 20, people familiar with the planning told Bloomberg on Wednesday.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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