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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.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Myanmar military fires UN ambassador after anti-coup speech

Photo: Peerapon Boonyakiat/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Myanmar's military regime on Saturday fired the country's Ambassador to the United Nations, Kyaw Moe Tun, a day after he gave a pro-democracy speech asking UN member nations to publicly condemn the Feb. 1 coup, The New York Times reports.

Details: State television said the ambassador had "betrayed the country and spoken for an unofficial organization which doesn’t represent the country and had abused the power and responsibilities of an ambassador."

Scoop: Biden admin call on Putin pipeline provokes GOP anger

Putin chairs a video meeting in July 2020. Photo: Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

A briefing between the State Department and congressional staff over Vladimir Putin's Russia-Germany gas pipeline got tense this week, with Biden officials deflecting questions about why they hadn't moved faster and more aggressively with sanctions to stop its completion.

  • The Biden officials also denied negotiating with the Germans over a potential side deal to allow the pipeline to be finished.
Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Biden: It's "not the time to relax" COVID mitigation efforts — Tracking coronavirus variants through sewage.
  2. Vaccine: FDA advisory panel endorses J&J COVID vaccine for emergency use — About 20% of U.S. adults have received first vaccine dose, White House says — New data reignites the debate over coronavirus vaccine strategy.
  3. Economy: What's really going on with the labor market.
  4. Local: All adult Minnesotans will likely be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine by summer — Another wealthy Florida community receives special access to COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Sports: Poll weighs impact of athlete vaccination.
  6. World: Brazil's capital enters 24-hour lockdown as coronavirus cases surge.