Aramco plans world’s biggest share sale at $50 billion: Report

Saudi Arabia is planning to list more shares in Aramco and is targeting a stake sale of as much as $50 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing people familiar with the oil giant’s strategy.

The state-owned company has held talks with outside advisers about selling more shares on the Riyadh stock exchange as well as a secondary listing, possibly in London, Singapore or other exchanges, the report said, adding that it was still in the planning stage.

Aramco, which listed in Riyadh in December 2019 and currently has a market value of $1.97 trillion, did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

When the initial public offering was first floated by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in 2016 with an ambition to raise as much as $100 billion, the share sale was touted as part of a blueprint for life after oil. Saudi Arabia would raise funds off its biggest asset, and use them to develop new industries.

But Aramco offered just 1.5 per cent of its shares and opted for a local listing, relying almost entirely on Saudi and regional investors. It mopped up proceeds of $25.6 billion, exceeding the 2014 IPO of Chinese internet giant Alibaba Group Holding.

The sale was the first major disposal of state assets under a plan to empower the private sector and attract foreign direct investment, which has tumbled since oil prices crashed in 2014.

The proceeds were to be transferred to the Public Investment Fund, which made a number of bold investments, plowing $45 billion into SoftBank Group’s Vision Fund, and taking a $3.5 billion stake in Uber.

Saudi wealth fund boosts gaming bets with Capcom, Nexon stakes

Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund PIF deepened its bet on video games, fresh from a face-saving deal that turned around its investment in Activision Blizzard. The Public Investment Fund disclosed stakes of more than 5 per cent in two Japan-listed gaming firms: Capcom, the maker of the Street Fighter and Resident Evil franchises, and online games provider Nexon. Its combined holdings in the two are worth over $1 billion. It has been building stakes in video game makers.

Ex-L Catterton Asia chief’s $500-mn fund wins Saudi Arabia’s backing

Turmeric Capital, an investment firm led by former L Catterton Asia head Ravi Thakran, has secured backing from Saudi Arabia for a $500 million private equity fund, according to sources. Jada, which was given $1 billion by Saudi Arabia’s wealth fund to seed venture and private equity firms investing in the country, will commit about $100 million, the people said. It’s looking to deploy capital “in vibrant regional businesses across the developing underfunded markets”.

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