Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

All companies want to be cash-rich — and as big as possible — heading into an era of extreme uncertainty.

The big picture: Companies raised an astonishing $287 billion through bond issuance between March 17 and April 3 alone. That's more than they raised in the entire second quarter of last year.

Slack didn't raise any money when it went public in a novel direct listing. But being a public company certainly helped Slack this week, when it easily raised $750 million in a convertible bond deal that could end up being as big as $862 million.

  • Slack, which lost $588 million last year and expects to lose money this year too, is paying just 0.5% on the bonds. Investors can also make money if the share price rises above $31 per share.
  • The stock is currently trading just below $25, after rallying from a low point of $15 last month.
  • Airbnb similarly raised $1 billion this week, but because of its industry and its private status, it had to accept much worse terms.

What to watch: Private companies are trying to get big enough to survive through M&A. Often the transactions are mostly or entirely in stock, to help conserve precious cash.

  • See for instance: SoFi buying banking platform Galileo, or Foursquare merging with location-based marketing company Factual. Both deals took place largely using illiquid private stock as currency.

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Special report: Trump's hopes of nuclear deal with Putin come down to the wire

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

A surprise offer from Vladimir Putin has the U.S. and Russia once again circling a potential pre-election nuclear deal.

The big picture: The last treaty constraining the U.S. and Russia, New START, is due to expire on Feb. 5, 2021, two weeks after the next U.S. presidential inauguration. For the first time since the height of the Cold War, the nuclear guardrails could come off.

The cliffhanger could be ... Georgia

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It hasn't backed a Democrat for president since 1992, but Georgia's changing demographics may prove pivotal this year — not only to Trump v. Biden, but also to whether Democrats take control of the Senate.

Why it matters: If the fate of the Senate did hinge on Georgia, it might be January before we know the outcome. Meanwhile, voters' understanding of this power in the final days of the election could juice turnout enough to impact presidential results.

Amy Harder, author of Generate
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Climate change goes mainstream in presidential debate

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty

The most notable part of Thursday’s presidential debate on climate change was the fact it was included as a topic and assumed as a fact.

The big picture: This is the first time in U.S. presidential history that climate change was a featured issue at a debate. It signals how the problem has become part of the fabric of our society. More extreme weather, like the wildfires ravaging Colorado, is pushing the topic to the front-burner.

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