July 26, 2018 / 1:37 PM / in 25 days

Moelis & Co to apply for Saudi advisory license: sources

DUBAI/LONDON (Reuters) - Moelis & Co (MC.N) is preparing to apply for an advisory license in Saudi Arabia to enable it to secure more deals, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The New York-based boutique investment bank is expected to apply for a license from the country’s Capital Market Authority (CMA) to carry out advisory work enabling it to do more local equity capital markets and mergers and acquisitions work, two of the sources said.

Moelis declined to comment when contacted by Reuters. The CMA did not initially respond to a request for comment.

Moelis was chosen last year as an adviser by Saudi Aramco [IPO-ARMO.SE] on its plans for what could be the world’s largest initial public share offering.

The IPO has since been delayed as Aramco works on a possible purchase of a “strategic stake” in local petrochemicals maker Saudi Basic Industries Corp (SABIC) 2010.SE.

But a flurry of other deals are expected in the country as a result of planned privatizations of state-owned assets and financing activity by private companies to help Saudi Arabia to diversify its economy away from a dependence on oil revenues.

Moelis has expanded from its United States base to locations across North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australia. Its expansion in the Middle East has accelerated since opening an office in Dubai in 2010.

Saudi authorities require foreign financial services firms to obtain licenses for certain activities within the country’s capital markets such as advisory roles on IPOs and merger and acquisition deals.

Several other international banks are seeking to beef up their presence in Saudi Arabia. Citigroup (C.N) is considering applying for a full banking license, a senior executive at the bank said in May, while Goldman Sachs (GS.N) plans to expand its services in the kingdom after being cleared to trade equities there.

Additional reporting by Saeed Azhar. Editing by Jane Merriman

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