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Dow Chemical Co. and DuPont today completed their $130 billion merger, which was originally announced in December 2015. Each company's shares stopped trading at market close yesterday, with the combined DowDuPont listing today under ticker symbol DWDP.

Up next: This may look like the final act of one of the largest M&A transactions of all time, but it's really more of an interim step before DowDuPont breaks itself back up. The plan is to split into three independent, publicly-traded companies — agriculture, material sciences and specialty products — although some like activist investor Dan Loeb believe more value could be created by adding a fourth sliver to the split stool.

Bottom line from Philly.com's Joseph DiStefano: "Dow contributes two-thirds of the combined $77 billion in yearly sales, and more than half of the 100,000 employees and $150 billion in market value, but the companies call this a 'merger of equals,' with eight directors from each side on the combined board. That allows the bosses to do their spin-offs without paying income tax on sales proceeds."

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Health

U.S. surpasses 25 million COVID cases

A mass COVID-19 vaccination site at Dodger Stadium on Jan. 22 in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The U.S has confirmed more than 25 million coronavirus cases, per Johns Hopkins data updated on Sunday.

The big picture: President Biden has said he expects the country's death toll to exceed 500,000 people by next month, as the rate of deaths due to the virus continues to escalate.

GOP implosion: Trump threats, payback

Spotted last week on a work van in Evansville, Ind. Photo: Sam Owens/The Evansville Courier & Press via Reuters

The GOP is getting torn apart by a spreading revolt against party leaders for failing to stand up for former President Trump and punish his critics.

Why it matters: Republican leaders suffered a nightmarish two months in Washington. Outside the nation’s capital, it's even worse.

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
6 hours ago - Economy & Business

The limits of Biden's plan to cancel student debt

Data: New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax; Chart: Axios Visuals

There’s a growing consensus among Americans who want President Biden to cancel student debt — but addressing the ballooning debt burden is much more complicated than it seems.

Why it matters: Student debt is stopping millions of Americans from buying homes, buying cars and starting families. And the crisis is rapidly getting worse.