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British PM, stock exchange chief woo Saudi sovereign fund
April 5, 2017 / 4:44 PM / 6 months ago

British PM, stock exchange chief woo Saudi sovereign fund

RIYADH, April 5 (Reuters) - Prime Minister Theresa May and the chief of the London Stock Exchange (LSE) pitched investments in Britain to the head of Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund on Wednesday during a two-day visit to Riyadh.

May and Xavier Rolet presented Yasir al-Rumayyan of the Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) with a “high-level overview of investment opportunities,” according to a spokesman for the prime minister’s office.

The LSE and other top stock exchanges are trying to win a slice of state oil company Saudi Aramco’s initial public offering (IPO-ARMO.SE), expected to be the world’s biggest.

Saudi Arabia plans to transfer Aramco’s shares into the PIF before listing up to 5 percent of the company, making the fund a key player in talks with the exchanges.

The IPO, expected in 2018, could be worth around $100 billion, Saudi officials have said, and will likely involve multiple exchanges.

The PIF is also expanding its profile with major investments abroad, including a pledge of up to $45 billion for the Vision Fund, a global technology fund it is creating with Japan’s SoftBank.

Saudi officials said last year they expect the PIF to expand from $160 billion to about $2 trillion after the Aramco share transfer, which would make it the world’s largest sovereign fund.

The PIF has not yet made any direct investments in British firms, but SoftBank is weighing plans to place its $8 billion stake in British chip designer ARM into the Vision Fund. (Reporting by Katie Paul; Editing by Jon Boyle and John Stonestreet)

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