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Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Photo by Nicolas Asfouri/Getty Images.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said delayed IPO plans for state oil giant Aramco will go forward in late 2020 or early 2021, according to a new interview with Bloomberg.

Why it matters: The massive listing — initially slated for late 2018 — is designed to raise tens of billions of dollars to fund the kingdom's economic diversification plans. But it's been repeatedly pushed back, and a few weeks ago looked dead, or at least in a deep freeze.

  • "Everyone heard about the rumors of Saudi Arabia canceling the IPO of Aramco, delaying that, and that this is delaying Vision 2030," bin Salman told Bloomberg. "This is not right."

Yes, but: There's reason for skepticism, as this isn't the first time the Saudis have brushed off reports of IPO delays, or if they have enough appetite for the type of transparency that would come with an Aramco IPO.

And there's still the challenge of meeting bin Salman's hoped-for $2 trillion valuation, which several analysts doubt. Saudi officials also have not made key decisions, such as the stock exchange or exchanges on which Aramco shares would be listed.

The bottom line: MBS said the multi-year delay stems from plans to first have Aramco obtain a controlling stake in Sabic, the kingdom's petrochemicals giant. According to Bloomberg, he said that after the Sabic deal is done in 2019, a year will be needed before the IPO.

Go deeper

Updated 27 mins ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. sounds alarm on Ukraine

Conscripts line up at a Russian railway station yesterday before departing for Army service. Photo: Sergei Malgavko/TASS via Getty Images

The Biden administration is "deeply concerned" by new intelligence — detailed for Axios and other outlets — showing Russia stepping up preparations to invade Ukraine as soon as early 2022.

Why it matters: Most of this was known from public sources and satellite imagery, but the administration is sending a stronger signal by releasing specific details from the intelligence community.

CNN fires Chris Cuomo

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for CNN

CNN said Saturday evening it has fired one of its star anchors, Chris Cuomo, following new revelations from a legal review made by the company into Cuomo's involvement in the management of his brother's sexual harassment scandal.

Why it matters: Saturday's firing speaks to how much pressure CNN was under by employees and critics to address Cuomo's behavior.

Updated 3 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Electric car prices could go up before they come down

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The secret to affordable electric vehicles is cheaper batteries. But after years of falling prices, battery costs are now headed in the wrong direction.

Why it matters: Costlier batteries could drive up the price of electric vehicles — threatening the auto industry's transition away from fossil fuels, and, in turn, society's fight against climate change.