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Fatwa No Barrier to Saudi Arabia’s $6 Billion Bank IPO

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Not even a fatwa against National Commercial Bank’s initial public offering could derail the biggest-ever share sale in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia’s largest bank said in a statement today it attracted 311 billion riyals ($83 billion) of bids from about 1.26 million investors. While that pales by comparison with the almost 9 million who subscribed for Alinma Bank’s IPO in 2008, NCB’s offering to sell 300 million shares was 23-times oversubscribed, signaling investors pitched for larger blocs of shares.