Photo by Paul J. Richards/Getty Images

President Trump talks about being the consummate deal-maker, but his administration is causing all sorts of heartburn for others in the trade.

Bottom line: Corporate merger uncertainty is climbing due to regulators in D.C., not bankers on Wall Street.

Here's the latest:

AT&T gets its day in court on Monday, defending its proposed $85 billion purchase of Time Warner against the U.S. Department of Justice. The presiding judge said yesterday that the trial will last six to eight weeks, which is longer than previously estimated.

Bayer is running into DoJ troubles of its own, related to its proposed $66 billion buyout of Monsanto, according to Bloomberg. Apparently its proposed divestitures don't go far enough, and Monsanto shares fell sharply on the report.

Qualcomm may have gotten Trump to run interference when it came to Broadcom, but it could again be the subject of CFIUS review. Paul Jacobs, who stepped down last week as executive chairman, is putting together his own takeover offer. But Jacobs doesn't have that kind of scratch, so he's reportedly reaching out to SoftBank Vision Fund as a possible partner.

  • SoftBank is a Japanese company, while Vision Fund's primary outside investor is a Saudi sovereign wealth fund. Government scrutiny would be guaranteed and, given what we just saw, it could come even without a signed merger agreement.
  • Delaware Supreme Court Justice Leo Strine on Broadcom/Qualcomm, during the Tulane M&A conference: “The way this was done... this didn’t come out of CFIUS at the end of the process. That creates suspicion.” (h/t @m_delamerced)

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
31 mins ago - Technology

Facebook removes Trump ads tying refugees to COVID-19

Photo Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Facebook said Wednesday that it was removing a series of ads from President Trump's campaign that linked American acceptance of refugees with increased coronavirus risk, a connection Facebook says is without merit.

Why it matters: The ads were pulled after they received thousands of impressions and are a sign that the Trump campaign continues to test the limits of social media rules on false information.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8 p.m. ET: 33,832,124 — Total deaths: 1,010,642 — Total recoveries: 23,507,536Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8 p.m. ET: 7,227,779 — Total deaths: 206,859 — Total recoveries: 2,840,688 — Total tests: 103,155,189Map.
  3. Education: School-aged children now make up 10% of all U.S COVID-19 cases.
  4. Health: The coronavirus' alarming impact on the body.
  5. Business: Real-time data show economy's rebound slowing but still going.
  6. Sports: Steelers-Titans NFL game delayed after coronavirus outbreak.

Over 73 million people watched the first debate on TV

Data: Nielsen; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

More than 73.1 million people watched the first presidential debate on television on Tuesday night, according to Nielsen ratings.

Why it matters: While that's a sizable audience for any American TV program, it's down more than 13% from the record number of TV viewers who tuned in for the first debate of the 2016 election. The chaotic nature of the debate and the overall uncertainty around this year's election may have pushed some viewers away.

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