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Saudi and Foreign investors stand in front of the logo of Saudi state oil giant Aramco. Photo: FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images

The massive IPO of Saudi state oil giant Aramco may never happen at all, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: Saudi officials had hoped to raise tens of billions of dollars to help fund the kingdom's economic diversification by going public with a small piece of the company.

Yes, but: The new WSJ report is the strongest indication yet that the already delayed offering, which could have been the largest ever, may be shelved for good.

“Everyone is almost certain it is not going to happen.”
— An unnamed senior executive tells WSJ

One level deeper: The Saudis have already backed off plans to hold the IPO in late 2018. Last month, the country's oil minister said it would be "nice" if it happened in 2019, but said the timing is not "critical."

Saudi officials have not chosen a venue for the international listing, with New York, London and Hong Kong previously floated as candidates.

Yes, but: "Saudi officials say they have determined that listing on a large stock exchange in New York, London or Hong Kong would carry too many legal risks, exposing Aramco to shareholder lawsuits, for example," the WSJ reports.

Another problem facing the Saudis is that outside experts say the company is unlikely to achieve the $2 trillion valuation that Saudi officials are seeking. The government was planning to float five percent of the company. The company declined to comment to the WSJ or when contacted by Axios on Thursday.

Go deeper

Updated 41 mins ago - World

Biden cleans up comments about Russia invading Ukraine

Photo: Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

President Biden sought to clarify his suggestion that a "minor incursion" by Russia into Ukraine may not draw the same response as a large invasion, telling reporters Thursday that "Russia will pay a heavy price" if any troops cross the border.

Why it matters: Some officials in Kyiv saw Biden's comments as inviting Russian aggression.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
54 mins ago - Health

Study finds bias against Black patients written into medical charts

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Black patients were more than two-and-a-half times as likely as white patients to have negative descriptors about them in their electronic health record, according to a study published Wednesday in Health Affairs.

Why it matters: The study is further evidence of bias in the U.S. health care system, which can ultimately result in worse care and disparately poor outcomes.

Jan. 6 panel asks Ivanka Trump to cooperate with investigation

Former President Trump and daughter Ivanka Trump walk to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on January 4, 2020 in Washington, DC. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot sent a letter Thursday to Ivanka Trump requesting her cooperation with the investigation.

Driving the news: "We write to request your voluntary cooperation with our investigation on a range of critical topics," the chair wrote in a letter to the former president's daughter.