Alphabet, Aramco in talks to build tech hub in Saudi Arabia: WSJ

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(Reuters) – Google parent Alphabet Inc is in talks with Saudi state oil giant Saudi Aramco about jointly building a technology hub in Saudi Arabia, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

It is not clear specifically whose data the centers would house or who would control them, the WSJ said.(

Reuters could not immediately reach Aramco and Alphabet for comment.

FILE PHOTO: Logo of Saudi Aramco is seen at the 20th Middle East Oil & Gas Show and Conference (MOES 2017) in Manama, Bahrain, March 7, 2017. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed/File Photo

Alphabet’s potential move follows rivals Apple and Amazon that are in licensing discussions with Riyadh on investing in Saudi Arabia as part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s push to give the conservative kingdom a high-tech look, according to a Reuters report in December.

A JV between the two companies could help Saudi Aramco expand into the United States, a goal for the oil giant.

The size of the potential joint venture between Alphabet and Aramco is unclear, although it could be big enough to become listed on Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange, according to the Journal report.

It is still unclear where Aramco will list its shares ahead of an IPO that could see it become the world’s largest publicly traded company.

Reporting by Shariq Khan in Bengaluru; Editing by Supriya Kurane