General view of Saudi Aramco's Ras Tanura oil refinery and oil terminal in Saudi Arabia May 21, 2018. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah
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Saudi Aramco is weighing tapping the international bond market for the first time to finance the acquisition of petrochemical giant Sabic, a move into global capital markets that could offer an alternative to an initial public offering, according to people familiar with the talks.Aramco hasn't yet started talks about the size of any bond, which would depend on how large a stake it buys in Sabic and how much the banks are willing to lend directly.The Aramco-Sabic deal could give Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman a shrewd way to avoid an IPO that has proved far more difficult than envisaged, while still raising cash for the sovereign wealth fund.Aramco has so far largely avoided bond markets, relying almost exclusively on its own cash or bank loans.Saudi Aramco, which didn't respond to requests for comment, has already signaled that the talks to buy a strategic stake in Sabic would likely further delay an IPO.Aramco has appointed JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley to advise on the Sabic deal, the people said.
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