Trump pitches Saudi Aramco to list IPO stock on the NYSE, calling it 'important' to the US

Key Points
  • Saudi Aramco, the world's largest oil company, plans to list its shares on the Saudi domestic stock market and one or more foreign exchanges in the second half of 2018.
  • On Saturday, President Donald Trump made a high-profile pitch for Saudi Aramco to list on the New York Stock Exchange.
Traders pass in front of an American flag displayed outside of the New York Stock Exchange in New York.
Michael Nagle | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Saudi Aramco just got a high-profile pitch for its upcoming initial public offering. It came from the president of the United States himself.

The world's largest oil company will debut its shares on the Saudi domestic market, called the Tadawul, but it is also expected to list on at least one foreign exchange in the second half of next year. Its decision, which it has yet to announce, is being closely watched.

On Saturday, President Donald Trump specifically requested the company opt for the New York Stock Exchange, tweeting that the IPO would be "important" to the U.S. Trump is currently in Hawaii ahead of a 13-day tour through Asia.

Trump tweet

The Big Board is the world's largest equity market trading companies with a combined market capitalization of $21.3 trillion as of June and is seen as an enduring symbol of American capitalism.

Where Saudi Aramco lists also carries weighty regulatory implications for the company, as listing on a U.S. or European exchange comes with financial disclosure requirements, as well as Western-style corporate governance and transparency expectations.

Saudi Aramco CEO: Saudi Aramco IPO on track

The Trump administration has been engaged in an aggressive courtship of Saudi Arabia, in part as a check against the ambitions of Iran. In May, as part of Trump's maiden trip abroad, the U.S. inked a $350 billion arms deal with the nation, in a move that solidified an alliance marred by controversy over the years.

Saudi Aramco's offering is likely to be one of the biggest, if not the biggest, in history. Depending on who's being asked, the company's valuation is pegged at somewhere north of $1 trillion. Recently, the company has appointed JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and HSBC to assist with its mammoth IPO next year.

Saudi Aramco CEO: IPO listing venue will be shared 'in due course'

Last month, Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser told CNBC the plan to take a portion of the state-owned oil giant's business public next year remained on track, but was cagey about its choice of an international listing venue.

In that interview, Nasser said that the Saudis "enjoyed" Trump's trip to the kingdom, calling it "a very successful visit... [that] gained a lot of support here in terms of strengthening relations and collaboration between Saudi Arabia and the U.S."

Spokespeople for both Saudi Aramco and the NYSE declined to comment on Saturday.

—CNBC's Sam Meredith and Holly Gamble contributed to this article.