Donald Trump may have promised to block AT&T's plan to buy Time Warner on the campaign trail, saying it was too much power for one organization to have—but his next pick for attorney general would disagree.
That's according to a note Evercore ISI's Head of Political Analysis, Terry Haines, sent Friday after hearing the president-elect Trump chose Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) to be attorney general.
" Sessions' likely nomination and confirmation by the Senate, in which he has served since 1997, is a market positive for merger and acquisition activity, " Haines wrote. " Sessions as attorney general would shift immediately from the current mostly 'red light' Obama antitrust/competition policy and move towards one that would be friendlier to M&A activity. "
The attorney general heads the Justice Department, and in addition to enforcing antitrust laws, Sessions will be responsible for prosecuting white-collar crimes, among other tasks.
Unlike the Obama administration, Sessions would be less likely to equate larger companies with trouble for competition, Haines said, when considering the Senator's career.
Sessions may decide, " that no reflexive test for the disapproval of a merger should be applied, as Obama regulators did with their 'no four into three' doctrine," Haines wrote.
Haines isn't the only one to suggest Sessions would be a boon to dealmakers.
“Sen. Sessions brings experience, intelligence, and passion to Justice,” Robert Raben, formerly an assistant attorney general under former President Bill Clinton and now head of consulting firm the Raben Group told the Washington Post. “Regrettably, it is likely to be exercised toward the attempted elimination of civil rights, environmental, and antitrust enforcement."
Conventional wisdom also suggests that Republicans are less likely to act on antitrust rules—though research into the topic is sparse.