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(AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Goldman Sachs has agreed to acquire around a 12% stake in energy-focused private equity firm Riverstone for around $500 million. This comes just one day after Goldman also purchased less than a 10% stake in tech-focused growth equity firm Accel-KKR.

Why it's a big deal: There once was an expectation that lots of private equity firms would file for IPOs, both for expansion capital and so that management could cash in on brand equity. But that worm has turned and been backed over by a truck. Now we have an accelerating trend of PE firms selling minority stakes to shops like Goldman Sachs, which is raising a $2 billion fund for this purpose (out of a group called Petershill that was originally formed a decade ago to buy into hedge funds). On this particular case, it also reflects how Riverstone's late aughts pay-to-play scandal ― which prompted The Carlyle Group to cut ties with the firm ― is no longer a reputational risk.

Energy angle: "The deal represents a vote of confidence in Riverstone, which suffered when oil prices collapsed in late 2014 but has recovered as energy prices stabilized, according to securities filings. While some of its big investments, such as oil explorers EP Energy and Fieldwood Energy, remain underwater or flat, Riverstone has had big profits in others, particularly companies that drill in the Permian Basin in West Texas." ― Ryan Dezember, WSJ

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Health

California surpasses 50,000 COVID-19 deaths

A man prepares a funeral arrangement in in Los Angeles, California, Feb. 12. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

California's death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 50,000 on Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: It's the first state to record more than 50,000 deaths from the coronavirus.

4 hours ago - Technology

Facebook bans Myanmar military

A protester holds a placard with a three-finger salute in front of a military tank parked aside the street in front of the Central Bank building during a demonstration in Yangon, Myanmar. Photo by Aung Kyaw Htet/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Facebook said on Wednesday it would ban the rest of the Myanmar military from its platform.

The big picture: It comes some three weeks after the military overthrew the civilian government in a coup and detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi, causing massive protests to erupt throughout the country. Military leaders have been using internet blackouts to try to maintain power in light of the coup.

It's harder to fill the Cabinet

Data: Chamberlain, 2020, "United States of America Cabinet Appointments Dataset" Chart: Will Chase/Axios

It's harder now for presidents to win Senate confirmation for their Cabinet picks, an Axios data analysis of votes for and against nominees found.

Why it matters: It's not just Neera Tanden. The trend is a product of growing polarization, rougher political discourse and slimming Senate majorities, experts say. It means some of the nation's most vital federal agencies go without a leader and the legislative authority that comes with one.