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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Lyft raised $2.34 billion on Thursday in an IPO that was 20 times oversubscribed. In other words, the underwriters received about $47 billion of orders for Lyft shares — more than double the market capitalization of the entire company.

The Levi Strauss IPO, last week, was 10 times oversubscribed. A raft of other IPOs could raise as much as $100 billion on U.S. markets alone this year. Uzbekistan's recent global bond offering was more than 5 times oversubscribed, and came on the heels of a similar bond from Tajikistan, which was 8 times oversubscribed.

Where's the money coming from? In a word, buybacks. So far this year, U.S. companies have spent $253 billion buying back their own stock from investors. Most of those investors don't want to exit the stock market entirely, so they need to reinvest the proceeds elsewhere. IPOs are one of the few areas that companies are actually asking for new equity capital.

Be smart: Underwriters have every incentive to exaggerate the amount of demand they receive for their offerings. And once a deal is oversubscribed, many investors will artificially inflate their orders, in the knowledge that their final allocation will end up being scaled back. Still, much of the demand is real — and is likely to remain elevated as long as American companies continue to flood investors with cash.

Go deeper

34 mins ago - Health

NYC to impose vaccine mandate on private employers

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) announced a new COVID vaccine mandate for private companies during a Monday interview with MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

Why it matters: De Blasio said it was a "first-in-the-nation measure" and will go into effect starting Dec. 27.

D.C.-Beijing tensions are shifting markets

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

U.S. markets stand to lose $2 trillion in value if D.C. and Beijing drift further apart.

Why it matters: Political chasms are showing up in new securities regulations that put companies and investors in a bind. The rules are also another reflection of how much relations between the world’s largest economies have cooled, even as they remain economically interdependent. 

4 hours ago - Health
Axios Investigates

Documents reveal the secrecy of America's drug pricing matrix

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

American businesses spend hundreds of billions of dollars a year on prescription drugs, and the bills keep getting bigger. But some of the companies promising to help rein in those costs prevent employers from looking under the hood.

Why it matters: Documents provided to Axios reveal a new layer of secrecy within the maze of American drug pricing — one in which firms that manage drug coverage for hundreds of employers, representing millions of workers, obscure the details of their work and make it difficult to figure out whether they're actually providing a good deal.