New York’s Moelis selected as advisor for Saudi Aramco IPO

The boutique firm has beaten competition from larger and more established banks, according to reports



New York-based boutique investment bank Moelis & Co has been appointed the sole independent advisor for Saudi Aramco’s planned initial public offering, according to reports.

Three sources confirmed the appointment of the firm, founded by veteran investment banker Ken Moelis in the middle of the 2007 financial crisis, to the Financial Times.

The publication said it was Moelis & Co’s largest equity advisory deal to date and other banks were still contending to underwrite the offering, which is expected to happen next year.

Read: Saudi energy minister still expects Aramco IPO in 2018

The listing of the 5 per cent stake could potentially be worth about $100bn, sources told the publication.

Saudi officials believe the listing could value Aramco at $2 trillion and plan to use the proceeds to invest in non-oil industries.

The FT said Saudi Aramco’s commercial banker JPMorgan and former Citigroup banker Michael Klein are working with Saudi authorities on the IPO and other matters.

Several other banks have also provided informal advice on the prospective IPO and visited Saudi Arabia several times in an attempt to take part in the plans.

In the buildup to the listing, Aramco is said to have sought advice on matters such as which exchange to list on, regulatory exposure, disclosure rules and dividend policy.

New York, London, Tokyo and London are among those being considered for the listing alongside the local Tadawul, according to the publication.

The former was previously believed to have fallen out of favour after US legislation was brought in allowing the families of victims of the 9/11 attacks to sue Saudi Arabia.

However, the FT said the selection of a New York-based bank as advisor could be an indication this was no longer the case.

Read: Saudi Aramco likely to list on multiple exchanges at same time

Since securing an advisory role in Hilton’s $26bn sale to Blackstone, Moelis has expanded its global footprint with operations in markets including Germany, India and the UAE.

It now has a sizeable team of advisors who have worked closely with companies including Dubai World and UAE private equity fund Abraaj, with a total workforce of 450 bankers.

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