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Aramco to Give Green Light for World’s Biggest IPO Next Week

Matthew Martin, Dinesh Nair and Archana Narayanan

(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Aramco’s board is expected to give final approvals to proceed with its mammoth share sale next week, according to people familiar with the matter.

The board is planning to meet with its advisers on the initial public offering around Oct. 17, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter isn’t public. The oil giant will gauge market conditions and assess feedback from a roadshow for potential cornerstone investors that ends this week before giving the final go ahead, the people said.

Aramco is speeding up preparations for the IPO with an aim of listing on the Saudi bourse as soon as November, Bloomberg News has reported. People involved in the deal say about 2% of Aramco may be sold, which could raise $40 billion. The firm is targeting a valuation of at least $2 trillion -- more than double that of Apple Inc. The sale is key to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s strategy to fund the diversification of the OPEC nation’s economy.

Upcoming key dates:

Note: Dates subject to change and according to people familiar with the matter

Investment banks’ research teams are in the midst of preparing pre-IPO reports on Aramco, according to an internal schedule seen by Bloomberg. Analysts had barely three weeks to get them done, compared with six-to-eight weeks they normally get for some of the biggest global listings.

Each bank’s team needed to finish a first draft of their analysis by Oct. 9, with second drafts due Oct. 15. The reports need to be finalized and printed by Oct. 18, so they can be ready to be distributed to fund managers once Aramco announces its intention to float on Oct. 20, the schedule shows.

While Aramco is likely to move ahead with the listing, no final decision has been made and the Saudis could still decide to delay or cancel the IPO, the people said. Aramco officials didn’t immediately respond to an email request for comment.

(Updates with more details of IPO timeline.)

To contact the reporters on this story: Matthew Martin in Dubai at mmartin128@bloomberg.net;Dinesh Nair in London at dnair5@bloomberg.net;Archana Narayanan in Dubai at anarayanan16@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Stefania Bianchi at sbianchi10@bloomberg.net, Shaji Mathew

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