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The launch of Saudi Arabian Oil as a publicly traded behemoth in the largest initial public offering the world has ever seen may take shape in two stages and in two different stock markets, according to a report.

Saudi Arabian Oil is weighing whether to kick off its IPO by putting up for sale part of its shares later this year on the Saudi stock exchange, followed by a second offering in another, international stock exchange next year or in 2021, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the discussions.

Tokyo is looming as the top choice for the Saudi oil giant, with executives concerned about holding the offering in London or Hong Kong due to political turbulence in both traditional financial capitals.

Better known as Aramco, the Saudi state-owned petroleum giant earlier this month resurrected plans to sell off 5% of its stock in a bid to raise cash to fund Saudi efforts to diversify the economy of the desert kingdom.

A plan to float the shares in 2018 - which could have raised $100 billion - went nowhere and was withdrawn.

London and Hong Kong were initial favorites and previously seen as politically safer alternatives to the U.S., which is not on the table as a possible IPO location, the Journal's report noted.

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