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Glencore: The Next Goldman Sachs

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Most U.S. retail investors may be blissfully unaware of the fact, but the imminent public offering of Swiss commodities behemoth Glencore International AG is one of the most hotly-anticipated deals on Wall Street at the moment.

Many observers are comparing Glencore to Goldman Sachs (GS - Get Report). Both firms are huge, intensely secretive and powerful, and populated by world-class trading talent. Both spent decades building themselves into leaders in their respective industries before eventually taking themselves public.

In the latest blow to the pride of those Americans who like to think of their country as the center of the financial universe, Glencore's IPO will list in London and Hong Kong, according to a company announcement Thursday. The listing is expected to value the company at $60 billion, but it will only be raising $10 billion to $12 billion.

A company spokesman for Glencore declined to comment , as did Citigroup (C - Get Report), Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse (CS - Get Report), which are leading the deal.

Glencore was founded in 1974 by Marc Rich, who was charged with tax evasion and illegal oil trading with Iran in 1983. Rich hid out in Switzerland, and was eventually pardoned by former President Bill Clinton on his last day in office. These days, Glencore is best known in commodities circles for coal and metals trading, and for taking on big risk in dangerous parts of the world.

The firm has long sought a public listing as a way to reward senior executives, according to one former Wall Street commodities trader who used to do business regularly with Glencore.

Not surprisingly, Glencore CEO Ivan Glasenberg "vehemently denied" any suggestion that the company's 485 share-owning senior executives are looking to cash out, according to the Financial Times article. Glasenberg told the newspaper there would be "good value" in a merger between Glencore and London-based mining giant Xstrata (XTA), but that Xstrata executives want to get comfortable with Glencore's valuation by seeing it tested by the public markets. Glasenberg also talked with the newspaper about the potential for new acquisitions, implying that an IPO would provide a currency to facilitate such deal making.
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