Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Rick Scuteri / AP

PetSmart, a pet supplies retailer owned by BC Partners, has agreed to acquire pet-focused e-commerce company Chewy for around $3.34 billion, as first reported by Recode. PetSmart's strategy: The legacy retailer and Petco are dominant in the pet supplies market, but are dwarfed by Chewy when it comes to e-commerce. And since e-commerce is where pet food sales are heading ― no matter the bricks-and-mortar perks of on-site vet and grooming services ― this is a logical play. Even at PetSmart, physical retail is having some issues. LevFin Insights reports that the company had a 4.6% drop in same-store sales in Q4, although EBITDA grew by 2%.Chewy's strategy: This will help with distribution. And it's a massive check for a pair of Floridian founders, plus early investors like Boston's Volition Capital. But all signs were that this company could go public (perhaps after one more big, pre-IPO round), and now it's tied its horses to a physical retailer owned by a private equity firm known for its cost-cutting capabilities. Culture, meet shock. Understandable decision, but a highly unusual one.Here's the breakdown: League tables: This is the largest sale ever of a VC-backed e-commerce company, topping Walmart's $3 billion purchase of Jet.com. Money matters: The deal is being financed by new equity from PetSmart's sponsors, which includes both BC and groups like GIC, Longview Asset Management, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and StepStone Group. Plus a new debt offering from existing PetSmart lenders Barclays and Citi. Breakdown: No announcement on the financial breakdown, but I hear that the deal includes around $2 billion in cash from the private equity firms, while the remainder is stock and/or retention packages. [Update: Another source says that Volition just sent out letters to limited partners, saying the full purchase price will be paid in cash at closing. Trying to reconcile the conflicting info.] Bank tellers: One reason it's so silly for PetSmart to be playing coy on the financing details is that most of it will come out when the banks go out to syndicate the new debt. Until then, what we know is that PetSmart de-levered a bit from its original 2014 buyout, from 6.4x EBITDA down to 5.6X after a dividend recap in early 2016. Sales pitch: If we all read the Miami Herald more often, we might have sensed that something was up. Speaking of Petco: For years there has been talk that PetSmart and Petco may merge, but that there were anti-trust concerns. This deal makes that tie-up even less likely.

Go deeper

Biden says $1,400 stimulus payments can start going out this month

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

President Biden said Saturday that the Senate passage of his $1.9 trillion COVID relief package means the $1,400 direct payments for most Americans can begin going out later this month.

Driving the news: The Senate voted 50-49 Saturday to approve the sweeping legislation. The House is expected to pass the Senate's version of the bill next week before it heads to Biden's desk for his signature.

6 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 drives smell loss awareness, research

A health worker carries out an olfactory test outside Buenos Aires. Photo: Alejandro Pagni/AFP via Getty Images

The pandemic has thrust a relatively unknown ailment, anosmia — or smell loss — into the international spotlight.

Why it matters: Researchers hope smell testing becomes as standard as the annual flu shot, helping to detect early signs of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
8 hours ago - Health

Why we need to know COVID's origins

The WHO's headquarters in Geneva. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

Geopolitical tensions are foiling efforts to get to the bottom of how COVID-19 originated.

Why it matters: Insights into how COVID-19 began can help us prevent future pandemics — especially if it involved any kind of leak or accident at a virology lab.