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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: Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in U.S.

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, cautioned on Sunday that the COVID-19 Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in the United States.

Driving the news: Fauci, Biden's chief medical adviser, told ABC's George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" that U.S. officials will meet with colleagues from South Africa later on Sunday to try to determine the severity of the cases, as countries scramble to learn more about the variant.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Dems fear supply-chain blame

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As supply-chain kinks drive up prices and disrupt holiday shopping, Democrats are scrambling to show action and deflect blame.

Why it matters: With their party controlling both the White House and Capitol, vulnerable Democrats worry supply-chain snafus will hurt them in next year's midterms.

6 hours ago - World

Scoop: Germany urges Congress not to sanction Putin’s pipeline

Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

The German government has urged members of Congress not to sanction the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, arguing that doing so will "weaken" U.S. credibility and "ultimately damage transatlantic unity," according to documents obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: At a time when roughly 100,000 Russian troops are massing at its border, Ukraine views Nord Stream 2 as an existential threat to its security. The pipeline would circumvent Ukrainian transit infrastructure and deliver Russian gas directly to Germany, eliminating one of the last deterrents Ukraine has against an invasion.

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