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Nasdaq Not Out of Aramco IPO Hunt Just Yet

Traders Magazine Online News, February 20, 2018

John D'Antona Jr.

It ain’t over until it’s over.

That’s what exchange operator Nasdaq’s Chief Executive Officer Adena Freidman has said at a recent Middle East confab, regarding the upcoming Saudi oil giant Aramco’s IPO that is slated for later this year. Early reports have it that rival NYSE is on the short-list to grab part of the international shares up for grabs and there was no mention of Nasdaq. Traders Magazine reported rumors that Nasdaq was interested in the offering but Nasdaq officials declined to comment at that time.

But Friedman, speaking at the World Government Summit in Dubai, was asked by Hadley Gamble, CNBC’s Middle East anchor, if Aramco could go for a dual listing on the Riyadh market and Nasdaq and replied: “With any company of that size and liquidity you could support a dual listing and allow fungibility (interchangeability) across markets.”

Also, she insisted she was not referring to any specific company, but went on to say that Nasdaq was home to the four largest companies in the world, and that it had attracted $350 billion-worth of listings from companies moving from the New York Stock Exchange to the newer and smaller Nasdaq.

“Companies want to be part of the future, not the past, and want to be associated with all the other companies that want to be part of the future,” she said.

If Nasdaq can get part of the $100 billion international Aramco listing, it would be a boon to the exchange.

Domestic shares of the IPO will be offered on the Saudi Arabian stock exchange, Tadawul.

Nasdaq has been a partner of the Riyadh-based Tadawul market for 20 years, cooperating on share trading technology and systems. “We’ve been working with them to help provide a fair market place and to help their market expand,” she said.


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