Last we heard from inside the kingdom, the Aramco IPO had been put on hold, with inside sources telling the FT that plans for the IPO had been temporarily shelved, and that the process for selecting a venue for listing the shares had been put off until at least 2019. Then there were rumors about a private sale directly to some of the world's sovereign wealth funds - which would cutting out the investment banker middlemen who've been salivating at the prospect of winning a piece of the world's largest IPO.
But six months into 2018, with oil prices at their highest level in three-and-a-half years and President Trump pushing Saudi Arabia and the rest of OPEC to ramp up production to help quell rising crude prices, the Wall Street Journal has dropped what looks like a bombshell on the oil market.
The Aramco IPO, which would've likely been the biggest offering in history given the company's valuation, is almost certainly not going to happen. According to the paper's inside sources, the death of the IPO has been all but officially announced.
Furthermore, WSJ reported that the IPO would bring "unprecedented scrutiny" to the Kingdom's "Crown Jewel", according to Saudi officials.
"Everyone is almost certain it is not going to happen," said a senior executive at Aramco, speaking of the IPO.
Oil prices are sliding as expectations surrounding the offering had been one of the factors supporting crude prices.
Now we wait to hear from inside the Kingdom, as officials might feel pressured to deny the rumors since they're apparently impacting the price of crude in a way that's contrary to the Kingdom's interests.