Saudi Aramco President and CEO Amin H. Nasser. Photo: Sergei Bobylev/TASS via Getty Images

Multiple new reports suggest the initial public offering of Saudi Arabia's massive state oil company Aramco may be shelved, not just delayed.

Why it matters: Saudi officials had hoped to raise tens of billions of dollars to help fund the kingdom's economic diversification by going public with a small piece of the company.

  • The IPO has been a part of the wider agenda of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the aggressive and ambitious heir to the Saudi throne, but has been mired in delays and uncertainty.

The latest: A newly published Financial Times interview with CEO Amin Nasser only grazes the topic, but in the article he says that the government had not determined whether it will happen.

  • That's a slight shift from Nasser's comments in recent months, like these in March, when he said the outstanding questions were about timing and listing venue.

More signs: The Wall Street Journal reported late last week that the IPO might be scuttled outright, and quoted an anonymous senior exec saying, “Everyone is almost certain it is not going to happen."

A weekend Bloomberg piece similarly says that many, including senior Aramco officials, doubt it will occur. Some key executives working on the offering have left or taken other roles, they report. Bloomberg notes that one headwind is...

  • The Trump factor: "With Republicans facing tough midterm elections in November, he’s pressured Saudi Arabia to pump more oil, and cheaper crude means a lower valuation for the company."

Worth noting: An Aramco rep has declined to comment to Axios in recent days.

Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Wall Street is living up to its bad reputation

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Recent headlines will have you convinced that Wall Street is hell-bent on living up to all of its stereotypes.

Driving the news: Goldman Sachs is the biggest and the boldest, paying more than $5 billion in fines in the wake of the 1MDB scandal, in which billions were stolen from the people of Malaysia.

2 hours ago - Health

Ex-FDA chief: Pence campaigning after COVID exposure puts others at risk

Former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said "the short answer is yes" when asked whether Vice President Mike Pence is putting others at risk by continuing to campaign after several aides tested positive for COVID-19, stressing that the White House needs to be "very explicit about the risks that they're taking."

Why it matters: The New York Times reports that at least five members of Pence's inner circle, including his chief of staff Marc Short and outside adviser Marty Obst, have tested positive for the virus. Pence tested negative on Sunday morning, according to the VP's office, and he'll continue to travel for the final stretch of the 2020 campaign.

Pence to continue traveling despite aides testing positive for COVID-19

Marc Short with Pence in March. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, tested positive for the coronavirus Saturday and is quarantining, according to a White House statement.

Why it matters: Short is Pence's closest aide, and was one of the most powerful forces on the White House coronavirus task force. Pence and second lady Karen Pence tested negative for the virus on Sunday morning, according to the vice president's office.