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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

RLX Technology, a Chinese e-cigarette maker, raised $1.4 billion in its IPO after pricing above its anticipated range. The company's initial market value is around $18.6 billion, and it will trade on the NYSE (RLX).

Why it matters: It's a reminder that vaping continues to flourish, despite receding from the headlines as COVID-19 became a more immediate public health crisis. The IPO also comes as investors wait to see if President Biden will continue on the Trump administration's efforts to stem U.S. listings of Chinese companies.

Details: RLX priced at $12 per share, versus its $8–$10 plans, and reports $16 million of net income on $324 million in revenue for the first nine months of 2020. Backers include Sequoia Capital China, with a 4.9% pre-IPO stake.

Bottom line: "The vaping industry has boomed in China even as the country banned online sales of e-cigarettes just over a year ago .... China is the world's largest potential vaping market, with an estimated 286.7 million adult smokers in 2019, RLX said in its prospectus. But vaping products only have a 1.2% penetration rate, compared with 32.4% in the U.S." — Crystal Tse & Julia Fioretti, Bloomberg

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Jan 29, 2021 - Economy & Business

Varsity Tutors to be valued at $1.7 billion in SPAC deal

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

Nerdy, the parent company of online learning platform Varsity Tutors, announced on Friday that it will be acquired by a SPAC called TPG Pace Tech Opportunities at a valuation of $1.7 billion. Axios had previously reported on the deal talks.

Why it matters: This is the first tech SPAC deal affiliated with private equity giant TPG, and comes as more and more legacy investment firms are hopping on the blank check bandwagon.

27 mins ago - World

Netanyahu campaigns against Biden's plan to save Iran deal

Netanyahu campaigns at a gym last month. Photo: Pool/AFP via Getty

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indirectly criticized the Biden administration for its intention to return to the Iran nuclear deal and told his supporters he was prepared to "stand against the entire world" to stop it.

Why it matters: This is a major change of tune for Netanyahu, who had been careful in his statements on the Iran deal and avoided publicly criticizing President Biden. The statement was part of Netanyahu's attempt to rally his base ahead of Israel's election on March 23.

Updated 50 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Tech: "Fludemic" model accurately maps COVID hotspotsVirtual doctor's visits and digital health tools take off.
  2. Politics: Schumer says Senate will stay through weekend to vote on COVID relief — Republican governor of West Virginia says there's no plan to lift mask mandate.
  3. World: Canada vaccine panel recommends 4 months between doses.
  4. Business: Firms develop new ways to inoculate the public.
  5. Local: Ultra-rich Florida community got vaccinations in January.