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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

China's crypto throwdown

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

China's latest move to ban cryptocurrency shows how tough it will be for the technology to deliver on its backers' vision of disruptive, decentralized change.

The big picture: Control of the currency is a foundation of sovereignty, and governments don't plan on losing that control even as money inevitably turns digital.

D.C. homicides fueled by rundown properties

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Angela Washington was the last line of defense for residents at the Oak Hill Apartments in Southeast besieged by gun violence. Then, on the evening of Sept. 21, the 41-year-old special police officer was shot to death.

Why it matters: The District’s spike in gun violence is being linked partly to rundown properties that city officials and residents say have become magnets for criminal activity.

Biden's reengineer-America moment

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Senate's bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill and President Biden's $3.5 trillion spending package could live or die this week — and take Democrats' fortunes with them. But all the minute-by-minute political drama obscures how much America could change if even a fraction of it passes.

The big picture: Anything short of total failure could have a transformative impact on day-to-day life — from how we move around to our access to the internet, paid family leave and child care, health care and college.