Saudi Arabia is reportedly calling off what would have been the world's largest IPO

Nicolas Asfouri – Pool/Getty ImagesSaudi Arabia Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends the G20 opening ceremony at the Hangzhou International Expo Center on September 4, 2016 in Hangzhou, China.
  • Saudi Arabia has reportedly called off plans to take state oil company Aramco public.
  • The initial public offering would have been the largest deal in history.
  • The decision was made “some time ago,” one Saudi source told Reuters.

Saudi Arabia has reportedly called off plans to take its state-owned oil giant public in what would have been the largest initial public offering in history.

Reuters reports Saudi Arabia decided it will not move forward with plans for a domestic or international Aramco stock listing, according to four senior industry sources, and that advisers who had been working on the deal have been disbanded.

“The decision to call off the IPO was taken some time ago, but no-one can disclose this, so statements are gradually going that way – first delay then calling off,” a Saudi source familiar with the IPO plans told Reuters.

Officials at Aramco, also known as the Saudi Arabian Oil Company, did not immediately respond to emails requesting comment.

As part of broader government efforts to reduce state dependence on the oil industry and diversify the economy, Saudi Crown Price Mohammed bin Salman first announced plans to take Aramco public in 2016.

While roughly 5% of the shares would be sold, the size of Aramco had it billed as one of the largest IPO’s in history. Its estimated valuation was roughly $US2 trillion, though some investors had been sceptical of that.

Part of the funds Saudi Arabia would have earned were slated to go toward a sovereign wealth fund that could be invested abroad. Earlier this month, Tesla CEO Elon Musk indicated the sovereign wealth fund could potentially fund a go-private plan for the company.

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