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Julian Lee

Saudi Aramco's IPO Is Vulnerable to the Russians

To get the best price for Aramco’s shares, Riyadh needs to stop the oil price from weakening. Yet this leaves it at the mercy of Russia and Iraq.

IPO politics.

IPO politics.

Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg

In finance, as in comedy, timing is everything. Get it right and you have investors (or the audience) in the palm of your hand. Get it wrong and the ensuing silence is painful.

Saudi Arabia has stepped on stage finally to launch the initial public offering of its oil monopoly Saudi Aramco. By a strange quirk of the calendar, the price of the shares will be set on the same day OPEC meets to decide the next step in its strategy of propping up the price of crude.