Bankers at JP Morgan Chase could get bragging rights by leading history’s biggest public float, it was revealed.
The company is close to winning the role as adviser to Saudi Aramco as it looks to hit stock markets potentially as early as November, Reuters reported, citing sources.
The decision is not final, and could be reversed, the sources said.
It would represent a major win for the bank, and would likely lead to a raft of other business.
The bragging rights alone will give JP Morgan a spring in its step. Aramco is the world’s most profitable company, miles ahead of second-place Apple.
Aramco is also looking to give roles to Citi, Goldman Sachs, HSBC and Samba Financial Bank, Reuters said.
Last year it combed in $111.1bn (£90bn) in profits.
The Saudi Arabian government is looking to float Aramco to bring in money for investment to make the country less reliant on oil money.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman needs to prepare for a time when the oil, or demand for it, dries up.
The business plans to float on the domestic Saudi exchange to begin with. Saudi Arabia, its only shareholder, could sell around £25bn of its shares there.
This would be followed by an international listing. Contrary to prior reports, which claimed that Tokyo had pipped other markets to the crown, CNBC today said London and New York were still on the cards.
Analysts have speculated that the Saudis would want to avoid listing in New York in case victims of the 9/11 terror attacks were to sue for the country’s alleged involvement.
Worries have also been raised on the Aramco board over the potential for the UK to incorporate elements of US law after Brexit, which could allow 9/11 relatives to sue if it lists in London.
Reports have indicated that Bin Salman is a supporter of a New York listing. Earlier today he fired energy minister Khalid al-Falih – said to be one of the strongest voices against a New York listing.