Dec. 6 (UPI) — Saudi Arabia raised $25.6 billion selling shares of its state-owned oil monopoly in the world’s largest initial public offering Thursday.
The country’s oil company Saudi Aramco sold 3 billion shares at $8.53 each, valuing the company at $1.7 trillion as it received total bids of $119 billion.
The sale surpasses the previous record set by Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba’s IPO in 2014 and makes Saudi Aramco the most valuable publicly traded company in the world ahead of Apple’s $1.15 trillion value.
Thursday’s sale is the first major offloading of state assets since Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched a plan to reduce the country’s economic dependence on revenue from oil.
The historic IPO fell short of the crown prince’s expectations when he initially proposed the idea in 2016 in hopes of raising up to $100 billion.
Saudi Arabia opted to rely on local listings, offering 1.5 percent of its shares instead of the 5 percent it planned to offer in 2018 after international investors questioned the company’s $2 trillion valuation and the country faced scrutiny related to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at a Saudi consulate in Turkey.