Oil giant Saudi Aramco has managed to pull off the biggest IPO of all time, despite the odds.
SA priced its shares at 32 riyals (US$8.53) and raised just a little bit more than Jack Ma’s Alibaba (US$25 billion), officially making SA’s IPO the biggest in the world. That was primarily achieved by domestic and regional investors after international investors baulked at the opportunity to buy shares in an oil company that was in the crosshairs of Yemeni rebels.
It also makes it the most valuable company in the world, with a $1.7 trillion valuation – a little ahead of Apple, which sits at a comfortable $1.15 trillion.
The money will go to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s to turn the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia into an international tourism and entertainment hub, something that apparently will involve building a city from scratch that will be administrated by artificial intelligence.
The road to the IPO was plagued with problems, including a drone attack that cut SA’s profits in half and the company’s chairman chucking a temper tantrum when a couple of multinational banks told him SA wasn’t worth $2 trillion.