Saudi Aramco's expected listing is widely predicted to be the world's largest, and the global competition for the prestigious event is breaking out from boardrooms and into the public.
Speaking to CNBC Wednesday, Hidetoshi Nagata, who heads new listings for the Tokyo Stock Exchange, made his case for Saudi Aramco, and said he believed the energy behemoth could opt for a listing in Japan.
"We have met with Aramco's people last year. We believe that they are quite interested in TSE," he said, adding that representatives first met with the Saudi Ministry of Energy last October.
Saudi Arabia is aiming to sell as much as 5 percent of Saudi Aramco with listings on both the Saudi stock exchange and at least one international market, Reuters reported recently, adding that the sale was expected to raise as much as $100 billion.
That's set off a horse race among global stock exchanges, with commentators naming a variety of cities — including Hong Kong, Singapore, New York, Toronto, London and Tokyo — as potential locations for the listing.
Arun Kant, chief executive and chief investment officer at Singapore-based investing firm Leonie Hill Capital, told CNBC that his proprietary artificial intelligence (AI) system was predicting a 55 percent chance that the company would choose to list on the New York Stock Exchange. That was followed, he said, by a 30 percent chance for London, a 10 percent chance for Toronto, and 5 percent for Hong Kong.
"Our model shows that because of market liquidity needs and keeping (President Donald) Trump happy, they are going to list the biggest IPO in the U.S.," Kant said in an email to CNBC.
Tokyo, Kant added, would likely be deemed too risky for the Saudis because of uncertainties about the yen.
Still, Saudi Arabia's King Salman is scheduled to visit Japan beginning March 12, and Aramco representatives are expected to be part of his delegation.
"We would like to show the benefit [to Aramco] of listing on a global exchange. We have access to many individual investors and a successful track record of large fund-raising like Japan Post," Nagata said.