Evan Vucci / AP

With a more relaxed antitrust posture and the possibility of tax reform on the horizon, merger activity is expected to rise this year. About 44 % of dealmakers see the number of transactions rising this year, while 35% expect M&A to be about the same as last year. Only one in five expect the number of mergers to drop from last year, according to a new Brunswick Group survey.

Among the other findings

  • Half of those surveyed see the Trump administration as a positive for deals and 21 percent see the new president as neutral. Less than a third of dealmakers see the new administrative as a hindrance for transactions.
  • Healthcare, energy and pharmaceuticals are seen as the hottest sectors for deal activity.
  • The one hitch is for foreign companies looking to buy U.S. companies. Nearly three quarters of those surveyed expect foreign purchases to face more scrutiny.
Brunswick Group

Go deeper

18 mins ago - Technology

Congress' next moves to rein in Big Tech

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

After grilling the CEOs of Amazon, Facebook, Google and Apple last week, members of Congress are grappling with whether to accuse any of the firms of illegal anticompetitive behavior, to propose updating federal antitrust laws — or both.

The big picture: Congress is just one arm of government making the case against these companies. Google is expected to be the first of the firms to face possible antitrust litigation from the Justice Department before summer's end, but all four face a full-court press of investigations by DOJ, the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general.

Fauci: Coronavirus task force to examine aerosolized spread

A sneeze. Photo: Maartje van Caspel/Getty Images

The White House coronavirus task force will examine more closely just how much SARS-CoV-2 might be transmitted via aerosols, and not just from droplets, NIAID director Anthony Fauci said Wednesday at an online forum sponsored by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Why it matters: The longer the coronavirus can remain infectious in the air, the more likely it can infect people, particularly indoors — leading to the possible need to alter air filtration and circulation within buildings.

The next wave to hit Main Street

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Call it the great retail wash. A wave of defaults, bankruptcies and evictions expected in cities across the U.S. is poised to remake the retail landscape across the country, but there may be some upside for consumers and small businesses.

Why it matters: Rather than an overnight descent into a collection of urban wastelands full of Starbucks, Amazon fulfillment centers, Chase bank branches and nothing else, the coronavirus pandemic and resulting retail apocalypse may just mean that, in major U.S. cities, less is more.