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Saudi Arabian Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih. Photo: Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images

There's new evidence that Saudi Arabia is serious about moving ahead with a mammoth IPO of shares in state oil giant Aramco after years of delays and uncertainty.

Driving the news: Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih will be replaced as chairman of Aramco by Yasir al-Rumayyan, head of the kingdom's sovereign wealth fund.

  • Al-Falih, via Twitter yesterday, called it "an important step to prepare the company for the public offering."
  • Aramco formally (and briefly) announced the move today.

Why it matters: The Aramco IPO is poised to be the biggest in history. Selling a slice of the company is designed to raise tens of billions of dollars to help finance diversification of the kingdom's economy.

  • "I suspect they want to accelerate the IPO timeline," RBC Capital Markets analyst Helima Croft tells Bloomberg.
  • She said the Saudis want to "bring a sense of urgency to the issue as this is a big signature initiative of Crown Prince Mohammed."

Where it stands: Kingdom officials had previously said they're planning a listing in the 2020–2021 timeframe, but hadn't identified an international exchange.

What they're saying: Oil analyst Ellen Wald, author of the book Saudi, Inc., tells me...

"On one hand, the move is good for the upcoming Aramco IPO because it creates plausible separation for legal anti-trust purposes between the company and Saudi Arabia’s OPEC position."
"On the other hand, an oil company needs to be overseen by an oil man or oil woman, not a venture capitalist or financier like Rumayyan, who lacks experience in the energy industry. "

The intrigue: The news hit just 3 days after a royal decree created a new Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources, which removed al-Falih's oversight of those sectors. He remains the country's oil minister.

  • Per the Wall Street Journal, the reductions in al-Falih's role in recent days are a "diminishment of his once-formidable grip on Saudi economic policy."

Go deeper

New York AG alleges "significant evidence" of Trump Organization fraud

Combination images of former President Trump and New York State Attorney General Letitia James. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images; Scott Heins/Getty Images

New York's attorney general filed a motion Tuesday seeking to compel former President Trump and his two elder children to appear for sworn testimony in her office's civil investigation into the Trump Organization's financial dealings.

Why it matters: Attorney General Letitia James revealed new details in the court filing and a statement on her office's investigation into the Trump Organization's business practices, including a preliminary finding alleging the company used "fraudulent and misleading asset valuations to obtain economic benefits."

2 hours ago - Technology

Ex-N.Y. Post digital chief files lawsuit alleging sexual harassment

Richard B. Levine) (Photo by Richard Levine/Corbis via Getty Images

Former New York Post editor Michelle Gotthelf is suing her former employer, its parent company News Corp. and two editors, alleging she was reprimanded after complaining to senior executives that she was sexually harassed by retired N.Y. Post editor-in-chief Col Allan. The N.Y. Post issued a statement denying any wrongdoing.

Why it matters: "I felt that I owed it to myself and I owed it to the news organization and the people who answered to me," Gotthelf, who was a long time editor at the N.Y. Post, told Axios in an interview.

Updated 3 hours ago - Economy & Business

Airlines warn of flight cancellations amid 5G rollout concerns

Emirates SkyCargo airline Boeing 777F aircraft. Photo: Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Emirates and Delta airlines announced Tuesday that the planned rollout of 5G services at certain American airports could affect flights.

Driving the news: AT&T and Verizon announced earlier Tuesday that they would delay this week's scheduled rollout of 5G signals near a limited number of airports due to continued concerns from the aviation industry.

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