We have seen some big-ticket IPOs this year, including that of Uber. An initial public offering (IPO) is when a private company offers its stock to the public through listing on one or more stock exchanges. It gives companies access to a whole lot of cash in exchange for a small portion of ownership in the business. Saudi Arabia’s state-run oil company Saudi Aramco has just gone public in what is arguably the biggest IPO ever. Here we take a look at the top 10 biggest IPOs of all time.
Surprisingly, only two US companies have made it to the top 10, even though the United States is home to many of the world’s largest corporations.
10- Enel SpA, $16.6 billion
Italian electricity giant Enel went public in November 1999, raising $16.6 billion from investors. Its shares were listed on the Italian Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange. Enel has one of the largest numbers of shareholders in the world. The company has an estimated 75 million users across 34 countries. The company had slashed 15,000 jobs and streamlined its operations before the IPO. The stock no longer trades in New York due to low trading volume. Enel posted revenue of $84.5 billion last year.
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9- Visa, $17.9 billion
The US credit card processing giant entered the public market in March 2008, raising $17.9 billion in its IPO. That’s quite impressive, considering the US was witnessing a major financial crisis back then. Visa sold more than 406 million shares at $44 on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock has skyrocketed since the listing, giving it a market cap of around $400 billion.
8- NTT DoCoMo, $18 billion
Japanese telecom giant NTT DoCoMo went public in October 1998. Its $18 billion IPO was underwritten by Goldman Sachs Asia. Soon after the IPO, the stock suffered a massive drop when the dot-com bubble burst in 2000. The stock was listed on both the Tokyo Stock Exchange and the NYSE, but NTT delisted its American shares from NYSE in 2018. It remained the largest IPO in Japan for almost two decades until SoftBank went public.
7- General Motors, $18.14 billion
General Motors, one of the world’s largest automakers, was listed on the NYSE and Toronto Stock Exchange on November 16, 2010. The automaker had filed for bankruptcy during the 2008 financial crisis, and was bailed out by the US government. The General Motors stock has been on a bumpy ride since the listing. Even a decade after the listing, the stock is hovering at around the IPO levels.
6- AIA Group, $20.5 billion
Hong Kong-based insurance and financial services giant AIA Group went public in October 2010 on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The company floated its shares at HKD 19.68, raising $20.5 billion in the IPO. It was the third-biggest IPO in the world at the time. The stock has been rising steadily since the IPO due to the company’s strong performance.
5- ICBC, $21.95 billion
The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China had a blockbuster IPO in October 2006 when it was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and the Shanghai Stock Exchange. It raised $19.1 billion in the IPO, and then used the overallotment option to increase the IPO proceeds to $21.95 billion. The ICBC is one of the Big Four banks of China.
4- Agricultural Bank of China, $22.12 billion
Famously known as the AgBank, it went public in July 2010. The stock was listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange. The bank was planning to raise $19.2 billion in the IPO, but increased it to $22.12 billion. The Agricultural Bank of China was created in 1951 following the merger of the Cooperation Bank and the Farmers Bank of China. It has more than 330 million customers and 25,000 branches across China.
3- SoftBank, $23.35 billion
SoftBank has recently been in the news for making insanely risky investments in overvalued startups such as WeWork and Oyo. The Japanese telecom operator and investment firm was listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in December 2018. SoftBank has set up a $100 billion Vision Fund to invest in startups. It is currently planning to raise a second Vision Fund.
2- Alibaba, $25 billion
Alibaba was the biggest IPO of all time until Saudi Aramco went public. The Chinese online retail behemoth was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in September 2014. The company raised a staggering $21.8 billion in the IPO. A few days later, the underwriters exercised an option to sell more shares, raising a total of $25 billion. The stock has more than doubled since the IPO.
1- Saudi Aramco, $25.6 billion
Saudi Aramco has claimed the title of the biggest IPO of all time. Saudi Arabia’s state oil giant launched its IPO on December 05, 2019 on the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul). According to Reuters, it will start trading on Dec.12 at 32 riyals, or $8.53. Saudi Aramco has raised $25.6 billion by selling a 1.5% stake. It may also exercise the “greenshoe” option to increase the size of its IPO by 15% to $29.4 billion. The IPO gives it a valuation of $1.7 trillion, making it the world’s largest publicly-traded company. However, the valuation is still lower than the $2 trillion sought by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.