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Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman al Saud. Photo: Alexei Nikolsky / Contributor

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Friday gave the green light for the initial public offering of state-owned oil giant Aramco, per reports in Bloomberg and Reuters.

Why it matters: Offering a small slice of the company is designed to raise tens of billions of dollars to fund the kingdom's economic diversification efforts. But the plan to list up to 5% of Aramco has been beset with delays since the crown prince first made the announcement in 2016.

What's next: Reuters reported the announcement is “expected” Sunday, while Bloomberg said “as soon as” Sunday.

  • Officials are reportedly planning to list a portion of that 5% on the Saudi's domestic stock exchange as soon as this year.
  • A later listing on a larger international exchange has also been discussed, but officials have not specified a venue.

But, but, but: The IPO has been an on-again, off-again idea for a while, so signs of it moving forward should be treated with caution until it actually happens.

  • Bin Salman faces widespread doubts about his hoped-for $2 trillion valuation for the mammoth oil producer.
  • "It’s not clear if the prince is willing to accept a lower valuation," Bloomberg notes. Reuters reports: "A valuation closer to $1.5 trillion is more likely, with wealthy Saudi families the main investors in the IPO."

Go deeper: Saudi Aramco revs up IPO sales pitch

Go deeper

4 hours ago - Health

Fauci: COVID vaccine rollout needs to prioritize people of color

Anthony Fauci. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

Infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci highlighted the need to address racial disparities in the COVID-19 vaccination process, per an interview with The New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday.

What he’s saying: "I think that's the one thing we really got to be careful of. We don't want in the beginning ... most of the people who are getting it are otherwise, well, middle-class white people."

The Mischief Makers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Several Republican and Democratic lawmakers are emerging as troublemakers within their parties and political thorns for their leadership.

Why it matters: We're calling this group "The Mischief Makers" — members who threaten to upend party unity — the theme eclipsing Washington at the moment — and potentially jeopardize the Democrats' or Republicans' position heading into the 2022 midterms.

5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Obama speechwriter fears Biden unity drive is one-sided

Cody Keenan (right) is shown heading to Marine One in December 2009. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Obama's former speechwriter says he's "preemptively frustrated" with President Biden's effort to find unity with Republicans.

What they're saying: Cody Keenan told Axios that Biden's messaging team has "struck all the right chords," but at some point "they're gonna have to answer questions like, 'Why didn't you achieve unity?' when there's an entire political party that's already acting to stop it."

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