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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

A new Washington

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Image

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said Friday that the city should expect a "new normal" for security — even after President-elect Biden's inauguration.

The state of play: Inaugurations are usually a point of celebration in D.C., but over 20,000 troops are now patrolling Washington streets in an unprecedented preparation for Biden's swearing-in on Jan. 20.

Mike Pence calls Kamala Harris to offer congratulations and help

Mike Pence. Photo: Chip Somodevilla via Getty

Vice President Mike Pence called Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Thursday to congratulate her and offer assistance in the transition, the New York Times first reported.

Why it matters: The belated conversation came six days before the inauguration after a contentious post-election stretch. President Trump has neither spoken with President-elect Joe Biden, nor explicitly conceded the 2020 election.

Updated 2 hours ago - Health

The coronavirus variants: What you need to know

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

New variants of the coronavirus circulating globally appear to increase transmission and are being closely monitored by scientists.

Driving the news: The highly contagious variant B.1.1.7 originally detected in the U.K. could become the dominant strain in the U.S. by March if no measures are taken to control the spread of the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.

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