BlackRock has agreed to buy the energy infrastructure business of private equity firm First Reserve, including a 37-person team and two funds that had raised a combined $3.7 billion. Only around half of the newer fund ― a $2.5 billion vehicle raised in 2014 ― is called down, and BlackRock does plan to eventually raise a third fund. No financial terms of the transaction have been disclosed, although First Reserve is expected to retain at least some ownership stake in the existing funds.

Why it's a big deal: This seems to be a Hail Mary for First Reserve, which will be left with a core private equity product that has really struggled in recent years (in terms of fundraising, returns and staff stability). First Reserve was long viewed as the biggest fish in the energy private equity pond but, if this refocusing doesn't work out, it may have just jettisoned its only life preserver.

Bottom line: "Executives from BlackRock and First Reserve met through their 2015 purchase of a 45% stake in a natural-gas pipeline project in Mexico... The Pemex project brings U.S. natural gas to central Mexico, a channel that has helped support gas prices in the U.S. Some analysts warn that trade policies limiting that flow of energy could increase a domestic gas glut and harm prices." -- WSJ

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What Matters 2020

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Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Jason Armond (Los Angeles Times), Noam Galai, Jabin Botsford (The Washington Post), Alex Wong/Getty Images

As the 2020 presidential campaign draws to a close, President Trump and Joe Biden have focused little on some of the most sweeping trends that will outlive the fights of the moment.

Why it matters: Both have engaged on some issues, like climate change and China, on their own terms, and Biden has addressed themes like economic inequality that work to his advantage. But others have gone largely unmentioned — a missed opportunity to address big shifts that are changing the country.

Pence chief of staff Marc Short tests positive for coronavirus

Marc Short with Katie Miller, Vice President Pence's communications director, in March. Photo: Doug Mills/The New York Times via Reuters

Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, tested positive for the coronavirus Saturday and is quarantining, according to a White House statement.

Why it matters: Short is Pence's closest aide, and was one of the most powerful forces on the White House coronavirus task force.

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