Moelis & Co has won the advisory mandate for the planned initial public offering of Saudi Aramco, according to three people familiar with the process, scoring the New York independent firm the biggest equity advisory mandate in history.
Winning the hotly contested mandate represents a coup for the boutique investment bank, which was founded by Ken Moelis in the midst of the financial crisis in 2007.
Saudi officials hope to turn the state-owned oil group into the world's most valuable publicly traded company, which they believe could carry a valuation of about $2 trillion.
Those close to the IPO planning have said the sale of a 5 percent stake should happen next year, although the number of shares sold could increase, and the timing could slip.
The IPO proposal is the centrepiece of an ambitious strategy by the hard-charging deputy crown prince Mohammed bin Salman to overhaul the country's economy, using a broad-based privatisation programme to boost employment and diversify the kingdom away from oil.
Riyadh hopes to use the IPO proceeds for investments in non-oil industries in order to wean the country off its most precious resource. Banks, advisory firms and consultancies have scrambled to secure work on the IPO since Saudi officials announced their intention a year ago.