Are Mergers All But Dead Under New Obama Rules?

The U.S. Justice Department today filed an anti-trust lawsuit aimed at preventing oil service company Halliburton Co. from taking over rival Baker Hughes in a deal valued at $34.6 billion. This comes in the wake of an announcement this week regarding Pfizer’s decision to call off its $152 billion merger with Allergan owning to new tax rules. Incidentally, the Pfizer PFE -0.38%merger was an example of the chilling effect U.S. Treasury rules had on mergers, where U.S. companies were trying to head overseas to avoid high U.S. taxes. In the past, the administration has attempted to block a range of mergers including Comcast’s purchase of Time Warner Cable, AT&T’s purchase of T-Mobile, and the merger between American Airlines and U.S. Airways.

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