By Alan Murray and Geoffrey Smith
March 29, 2017

Good morning.

The AT&TTime Warner deal looks more likely to win approval in the wake of this week’s appointment of Makan Delrahim to head the Justice Department’s antitrust division. In an interview last October, Delrahim said he did not think the merger raised major antitrust issues. “The sheer size of it, and the fact that it’s media, I think it will get a lot of attention,” Delrahim said in an interview. “However, I don’t see this as a major antitrust problem.”

During the campaign, Trump repeatedly criticized the merger, saying it concentrated too much power in the hands of a few. But since the election, he has stayed mum. One potential benefit of the deal for the President would come if AT&T changed out the leadership at CNN, which has been relentlessly critical of, and criticized by, the Trump administration

The AT&T deal won’t be the only one to benefit from the new regime. A survey of M&A professionals by the Brunswick Group, out this morning, shows many believe the prospect of corporate tax reform, repatriation of overseas profits, and a decrease in antitrust scrutiny will fuel an increase in deals. The hottest sectors: healthcare, pharma, and energy.

The survey also showed M&A professionals expect shareholder activism to remain strong in 2017, with target companies more likely to settle (58%) than fight (42%).

More news below.

Alan Murray


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