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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Uber. WeWork. SoftBank. Even Tesla. After a decade in which private markets have overwhelmingly funded the most innovative and dynamic companies in the world, public markets are having their day, and showing what they're capable of.

Driving the news: Uber will go public this week in the most feverishly anticipated IPO since Facebook. (Let's hope it goes better than that fiasco.) It's probably going to end up raising somewhere in the region of $9 billion. To put that in context: The company has raised about $20 billion to date and is currently sitting on about $6.4 billion in cash. So while the public markets are providing a lot of capital, they're still providing less than private investors have done over the years.

  • WeWork burned through more cash than Uber did last year; it too is going public, in an attempt to keep finding fuel for its cash fire. The news was music to bondholders' ears: The benchmark 2025 bond, which had a yield of more than 11% in January, now trades above par and yields just 8%. Debt investors believe, it seems, that a large cushion of public equity might be able to protect them should WeWork run into financial trouble.
  • Tesla is raising money in the stock market too — as much as $2.7 billion in total, between fresh equity and an equity-linked bond. The move is a retreat for CEO Elon Musk, who had previously been adamant that he would raise no fresh equity and who was cutting costs aggressively in an attempt to avoid such dilution. Shareholders don't share his aversion to fresh capital raises: Tesla's stock price rose on the news.
  • Even SoftBank is reportedly considering an IPO of its $100 billion Vision Fund. The move would be legally dubious, at least in the U.S., but I'm sure that if he's serious, CEO Masayoshi Son will be able to find a stock market happy to accept the listing — and that there would be no shortage of investors willing to buy shares in the fund, at the right price.

The big picture: Buybacks have already reached $272 billion this year and are on track to exceed $1 trillion for the second year running. That's a lot of cash going into investors' pockets, and most of it is going to get reinvested in the market somehow. It stands to reason that liquidity-constrained companies would want to access that source of funds, possibly on a repeated basis. If Tesla can do secondary offerings, there's no reason why Uber or WeWork shouldn't be able to do so as well.

Go deeper

Updated 5 hours ago - World

UK government: Kremlin has plan "to install pro-Russian leadership" in Ukraine

British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss. Photo: Gints Ivuskans / AFP via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary on Saturday night said the government has "information that indicates the Russian Government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine."

Driving the news: U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne called the intelligence "deeply concerning" in a statement to Axios. The Biden administration has said Russia is actively manufacturing a pretext for invasion and warned that Putin could use joint military exercises in Belarus as cover to invade from the north.

Updated 6 hours ago - Science

This powerful new accelerator looks for keys to the center of atoms

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Nuclear physicists trying to piece together how atoms are built are about to get a powerful new tool.

Why it matters: When the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams begins experiments later this spring, physicists from around the world will use the particle accelerator to better understand the inner workings of atoms that make up all the matter that can be seen in the universe.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: FDA OKs antiviral drug remdesivir for non-hospitalized COVID patients — Walensky: CDC language "pivoting" on "fully vaccinated" — Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Teens and adults missed 37 million vaccinations during COVID — Team USA 100% vaccinated against COVID ahead of Beijing Olympics — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America — Annual COVID vaccine preferable to boosters, says Pfizer CEO.
  3. Politics: Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates — Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults — Beijing officials urge COVID-19 "emergency mode" before Winter Olympics.
  5. Variant tracker