March 13, 2017 / 3:54 PM / 5 months ago

Saudi Aramco selects FTI as global media advisor for IPO: sources

FILE PHOTO: Oil tanks seen at the Saudi Aramco headquarters during a media tour at Damam city November 11, 2007.Ali Jarekji/File Photo

KHOBAR, Saudi Arabia/DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi Aramco [IPO-ARMO.SE] has chosen U.S.-based FTI Consulting (FCN.N) as global media adviser for what is expected to be the world's largest initial public share offer, industry sources said.

In recent months the Saudi national oil giant has been appointing advisers to help arrange the offer. Investment banks Moelis & Co(MC.N), Evercore(EVR.N), JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) and Morgan Stanley (MS.N) will play roles, and more banks will be chosen, the sources said.

FTI "will support Aramco's communications team ahead of the sale to handle the storm of the IPO", said one of the sources.

The sources said FTI's main competition in the bidding was international consulting firm Brunswick Group. Contacted by Reuters, Aramco said it "does not comment on rumor or speculation". Officials at Brunswick and FTI declined to comment.

Aramco's corporate affairs department has a headcount of over 200 people. It handles the company's publications, media queries and events among other tasks, and supports the ministry of energy with staffing and speech writing.

"Aramco has avoided frequent contact with the international media and has preferred in the past to let the ministry of petroleum handle such relationships," said Sadad al-Husseini, a former senior executive at Saudi Aramco.

"But now with the growing focus on the IPO and proliferation of related rumors and speculation, it is clear the company wants to manage these contacts in a more effective and professional manner," said Husseini, now an energy consultant.

Additional reporting by Hadeel El Sayegh in Dubai and David French in New York; Editing by Andrew Torchia, Greg Mahlich

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