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IPO: How Petrobras struck $70 billion

The equity transaction that Petrobras priced on September 23 last year set a world record. The deal was skilfully executed but many of the arguments that divided investor opinion on the transaction rumble on. Rob Dwyer tells the inside story.

Petrobras CEO Gabrielli and CFO Barbassa struck a rich seam of investment
Timeline: How the deal unfolded

The deal in numbers

The controversial $8.51

The investor who tried to pull the plug

AT SOME POINT in the middle of a 16-day roadshow, Almir Barbassa, Petrobras’s CFO and one of the key architects of the $70 billion equity offering he was selling to Europe’s leading investors, found a quiet moment. Its exact location has been forgotten among the general confusion created by the roadshow’s almost perpetual motion. Barbassa had had dinner at 30,000 feet; lunch had been taken in a nondescript meeting room in a four-star hotel in one of Europe’s capital cities, sandwiches on the table, men (usually men, but there were some women at these meetings) in suits on the other side, asking the same questions he had been asked a few hours earlier over a breakfast meeting that had been in, he was pretty sure, a different country. The quiet moment was to be shared; a senior banker at one of Petrobras’s six lead managing banks ambled over to his table and slumped into the chair opposite.

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