If you were a betting man or woman, you may have lost a bunch betting on the merger chances for AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Time Warner Inc. (NYSE: TWX). It surely seemed that the clear consensus on Wall Street for the past few months was that the deal would not get approved, especially when the Trump administration had voiced their disapproval. But just like the Las Vegas hockey team getting to the Stanley Cup Finals, it’s never over until it’s over.
Now those on Wall Street who handicap deals are turning their attention to other potential deals that are in the process of being scrutinized. One thing is for sure, if a deal involves proprietary technology, and a perceived potential threat to national security, like the Broadcom Inc. NASDAQ: AVGO) bid for QUALCOMM Inc.(NASDAQ: QCOM) did, there is a good chance it will not go through.
Currently there are four major deals that are pending, and some are still in the bidding process. The green light for AT&T could improve the odds for the other deals, especially given that the odds seemed stacked against the deal.
One of the companies that immediately looks poised to benefit is Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. (NASDAQ: FOXA), which is looking to sell some of the company’s big TV and movie assets. The stock jumped immediately in pre-market trading Wednesday, and with Fox already having a $52.4 billion all-stock deal from Disney in hand, and the potential for an even higher all-cash bid from Comcast coming, the odds look better for approval.
One deal that always looks like a failure, as it has been tried twice before, is a merger between Sprint Corporation (NYSE: S) and T-Mobile USA Inc. (NASDAQ: TMUS). However the approval for AT&T may indicate that some of the consternation over mega-communication companies is changing. That may be especially true as there are multiple bargain wireless subsidiaries like T-Mobile’s MetroPCS and AT&T’s Cricket that supply consumers with choices other than the big-brand companies.
There are also two huge deals in the healthcare arena that could benefit from the apparent easing of concerns over mega-mergers. CVS Health Corp (NYSE: CVS) has a massive $69 billion bid for healthcare provider Aetna Inc. (NYSE: AET) on the table. While there has been some concerns over regulatory approval, top CVS management has confirmed recently they are making solid progress with states regulators, and they expect the deal to close later this year.
In another big healthcare deal, Cigna Corporation (NYSE: CI) has a huge $67 billion bid for Express Scripts Holding Company (NASDAQ: ESRX) on the table, and the seemingly positive chatter from the CVS for Aetna deal looks to be a positive for this transaction as well.
All of the potential takeover targets are trading higher this Wednesday morning, with Fox leading the way, up almost 8% at $43.75. While the approval for AT&T may or may not indicate a trend for a tacit approval for mega-mergers, one thing is for sure. The Trump administration’s disapproval of big deals, not just those it says compromise national security, may not necessarily close the door on any of these pending deals.
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