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Mergers and acquisitions make a comeback as TikTok deal seizes headlines

A slew of high-profile headlines led by Microsoft's expected acquisition of social media video app TikTok helped bring the Nasdaq to another record high on Monday.

Why it matters: The mergers-and-acquisitions market looks like it's bouncing back, joining the revived credit and equity markets as well as the market for new public companies through IPOs and special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs).


  • Goldman Sachs did warn in a recent note to clients that the 51 SPAC offerings this year — raising a record $21.5 billion that's up 145% from the same period a year ago — have lagged on performance so far.

What's happening: In addition to Microsoft's big pickup, security company ADT saw its shares jump 56.6% on news that Google plans to buy a nearly 7% stake for $450 million to use ADT services in its Nest home security devices.

  • Varian Medical Systems jumped 22% on news of a $16 billion buyout by Germany’s Siemens Healthineers, and Kansas City Southern gained after a report of a takeover bid expected to be worth $20 billion, Reuters reported.

Flashback: Data firm CB Insights reported last month that M&A deals started picking back up in the back half of the second quarter, but with significantly more deals in Asia where VC deal activity rose 20% quarter over quarter.

  • North America and the rest of the world now look to be picking up the pace.

The big picture: “The market is revolving around M&A activity possibly picking up,” Jake Dollarhide, CEO of Longbow Asset Management, told Reuters. “It means CEOs are more confident about the future. Otherwise, why would they lay out billions of dollars?”

Yes, but: As Axios' Dan Primack noted in mid-July, the approval time for big deals has been increasing as the coronavirus pandemic has slowed and scattered government agencies needed to sign off on them.

  • In general, U.S. regulators have beefed up scrutiny of new deals, especially when there are multibillion-dollar companies involved.
  • This could mean that even as more firms agree to tie-ups in 2020, they could be delayed through the end of the year.

By the numbers: The announced deal value for U.S.-based companies through July 9 was 64% lower than the same period in 2019, according to Refinitiv, with aggregate deal value between Q1 and Q2 2020 down more than 40%.

Naftali Bennett: How Israel's new PM plans to handle relations with Biden

New Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is signaling he intends to move cautiously at first on issues like Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, an approach that will suit the Biden administration just fine.

Why it matters: Bennett is aiming to avoid an early confrontation with the U.S., and his fragile and ideologically diverse government will have a hard time taking any groundbreaking steps on foreign policy in the first place.

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Biden: Consequences for Russia would be "devastating" if opposition leader Navalny dies

President Biden said he warned Russian President Vladimir Putin during Wednesday's summit that if jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny dies in prison, the consequences "would be devastating for Russia."

Why it matters: Although the White House had previously warned the Russian government over Navalny's imprisonment, Biden personally delivered the message to Putin on Wednesday.

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Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy will support Juneteenth bill

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy will support a bill to make Juneteenth a federal holiday when it comes to the floor later Wednesday, his office tells Axios.

Why it matters: The House is slated to pass a bill making June 19 — Juneteenth — a federal holiday that memorializes when the last enslaved people in Texas learned about their freedom under the Emancipation Proclamation.

  • It will then go to President Biden for his signature just days before the occasion and one day after the Senate passed the bill unanimously.

Biden says he raised human rights issues in Putin summit

President Biden said he raised issues including nuclear arms control, cybersecurity, election interference and violations of human rights in Russia in his meeting with Vladimir Putin in Geneva on Tuesday.

What he's saying: "My agenda is not against Russia or anybody else. It's for the American people," Biden said at a press conference following the summit, which was shorter than expected.

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Putin calls talks with Biden "constructive," says ambassadors will return to posts

Russian President Vladimir Putin of Russia said Wednesday that his summit with President Biden was "constructive," and that the countries had agreed their ambassadors would imminently return to their posts in Moscow and Washington.

What he's saying: "Many of our joint positions are divergent but nevertheless I think both sides manifested a determination to try and understand each other and try and converge our positions," Putin told reporters at a press conference immediately following the meetings.

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Southwest heat wave intensifies, 40 million likely to see 100-degree temperatures

A punishing and long-enduring heat wave is intensifying in parts of the West and Southwest, with heat warnings and advisories in effect across seven states Wednesday. The heat will not relent until late in the weekend.

Threat level: In the coming days, 40 million are likely to see temperatures reach or exceed 100 degrees.

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Lordstown Motors: A tale of hubris, political pandering and regulatory failure

Lordstown Motors is the quintessential business fiasco. Equal parts hubris, political pandering and regulatory failure.

Why it matters: There's no indication that anyone will learn their lesson, except perhaps for some random retail investors who didn't diversify.

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GM boosts investment in electric, autonomous vehicles by $8 billion

General Motors plans to boost its cumulative investment in electric and autonomous vehicles to $35 billion from 2020-2025, a significant jump from a $27 billion target.

Driving the news: GM said this morning that the initiative will include building two new battery cell manufacturing plants in addition to the two already under construction in Tennessee and Ohio.

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