At long last, it seems that Saudi Aramco, allegedly the most profitable company in the world by far, is finally going public, in what will be the largest IPO in history. Of course, nothing in life is guaranteed, least of all this particular floatation, given its history and also the stubborn refusal of everyone not named Mohammed bin Sultan to recognize that the thing is easily worth $2 trillion at the very least. Apparently, this has people in a terrifying frenzy for shares from the Red Sea to the Persian Gulf and back again.

Fueled by a mix of national pride and fear of missing out, Saudi citizens are getting ready to shell out to be part of the oil giant’s initial public offering, which promises to be the largest ever.

We can think of some other fears they might be feeling, but no matter. How do we know that Saudis are lining up for a piece of that sweet, sweet hometown crude action? Why, just fly to Riyadh (you can do that now) and look around.

A bombardment of marketing around the long-awaited share sale is aimed directly at them.

Saudi banks are offering customers loans to buy Aramco stocks, billboards and ATMs across the kingdom advertise the IPO and state-controlled newspapers are urging citizens to invest…. The company promises to give a bonus share for every 10 shares to individuals who hold their listing allocation for at least 180 days…. In a sign that the Saudi government is leaning on its local populace to help the energy giant achieve the highest possible valuation, individual investors are required to subscribe for shares at the top of the IPO’s price range, according to the offering prospectus….

The Saudi government has been encouraging wealthy Saudi families, many considered institutional investors, to take anchor stakes in the Aramco IPO to ensure its success, The Wall Street Journal has reported. It isn’t clear, however, that the business community is happy to oblige, after Prince Mohammed in 2017 locked up hundreds of rich Saudis in an anticorruption campaign that many viewed as a power play.

Yup, a totally organic groundswell of interest from ordinary, patriotic citizens to invest at a valuation one-third higher than can reasonably be borne.

Saudis Are Urged Not to ‘Miss the Train’ on Aramco IPO [WSJ]

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