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Saudi wealth fund buys 40% stake in JV from Aramco, Jacobs

Riyadh

SAUDI Arabia's sovereign wealth fund has acquired a 40 per cent stake in a joint venture between state energy producer Aramco and Jacobs Engineering Group Inc., according to three people familiar with the matter.

The Public Investment Fund acquired 30 per cent of Jasara Program Management Co. from Saudi Arabian Oil Co. and 10 per cent of the joint venture from Jacobs, one of the people said, leaving Aramco with 20 per cent and Jacobs with 40 per cent.

The venture was created in 2017 to provide management services for social infrastructure projects in the kingdom and across the Middle East and North Africa, according to a Jacobs statement from that year.

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Jasara declined to comment, while Saudi Aramco and Dallas-based Jacobs didn't immediately respond to requests for comment. None of the people disclosed the value of the deal.

At the time Jasara was created, the Saudi government had announced plans to transform Aramco from an energy company into an industrial conglomerate, as part of efforts to help the biggest Arab economy break its reliance on oil sales.

Aramco has built the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah at the request of the government, and established the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology on the Red Sea.

Aramco, the world's most profitable company, is restarting preparations for a potential initial public offering, months after putting the planned listing on hold, other people familiar with the matter said earlier this month.

The revived IPO plan will still face significant hurdles, including the ability of the kingdom to achieve the US$2 trillion valuation it's been seeking for the company. BLOOMBERG