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Last week's storming of the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. Photo by Murtadha Sudani/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images.

Constellis, a Reston, Va.-based security contractor owned by Apollo Global Management, is in talks with creditors to restructure its $1 billion of debt or enter a pre-negotiated bankruptcy, per Bloomberg.

Why it matters: Constellis is partially responsible for security at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, which came under assault last week — possibly precipitating the U.S. decision to kill Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

Backstory: The company missed a principle payment on December 31, but entered into a forbearance agreement so it could continue operations. All of this is a far cry from early 2018, when Apollo was negotiating to sell or IPO Constellis.

Bottom line: "The company, which bought what was once Blackwater, the private-security firm founded by Erik Prince, has struggled as the U.S. scaled back operations overseas. Domestic work came with lower margins and the company has been bogged down with start-up costs on new contracts, S&P Global Ratings said in a report in November as it cut the company’s credit grades." — Bloomberg

Go deeper:

Go deeper

3 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.