EU Commissioner of Competition Margrethe Vestager. Photo: John Thys/AFP via Getty Images
Governments around the world are taking a much closer look at proposed mergers, often on antitrust grounds, with bankers telling Axios that they've changed their approach with clients.
The big picture: "We used to look for reasons that a regulator might object to a deal," said a senior deal-maker at a large Wall Street bank. "Now we look at it from the opposite direction: We assume there will be objections, and then look for reasons why it won't get held up."
Some headlines from just the past week:
- The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating Google's $2.1 billion purchase of fitness-tracking company FitBit.
- Australian antitrust regulators are taking a harder look at Anheuser-Busch InBev’s $16 billion sale of Carlton & United Breweries to Japan's Asahi, over concerns about competition within the country's cider and beer markets.
- British antitrust regulators have "serious competition concerns" over Amazon's decision to lead a $575 million investment in Deliveroo. This one is particularly notable because Amazon would only hold a minority stake.
- Canadian transportation regulators are holding up Onex's C$3.5 billion deal for WestJet, over ownership rules.
The bottom line: Regulatory uncertainty is the new normal.