AT&T (T) - Get Report 's announced mega-merger with Time Warner (TWX) is sure to get a lot of regulatory scrutiny, but both companies are confident the deal will go through, leaving plenty of opportunity for investors.
Dallas-based AT&T announced over the weekend it was paying $107.50 a share in cash and stock for New York-based Time Warner, with the companies calling it a vertical integration. AT&T will own networks such as HBO, CNN, TBS, TNT and others, pairing them with its wireless and television businesses to offer the ability to have their content everywhere and anywhere.
"With great content, you can build truly differentiated video services, whether it's traditional TV, OTT or mobile," AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said in a statement announcing the deal. "Our TV, mobile and broadband distribution and direct customer relationships provide unique insights from which we can offer addressable advertising and better tailor content," Stephenson said. "It's an integrated approach and we believe it's the model that wins over time."
Still, there appears to be significant push back towards the deal, some of which has come from both presidential candidates.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said he would block the merger, saying, "Deals like this destroy our democracy." Democractic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has said she is skeptical of the deal via her spokesman, "but there is still a lot of information that needs to come out before any conclusion should be reached."
Shares of AT&T and Time Warner were both trading lower in early Monday after the deal was announced, after several days of rumors.
But for investors looking to get some upside from this deal if it comes to fruition while mitigating risk, they should look to these three ETFs.
FIDELITY MSCI TELECOMMUNICATION SERVICES ETF
MKM Partners analyst Eric Handler noted that the deal was a "fair price," but said shares would trade in a narrow range until it became clearer the deal would get done.
"We are unsure how much of a discount Time Warner shares will trade on Monday morning relative to the offer, but we think at this point, whatever that price will be, the shares will then trade in a narrow range based on the likelihood of the deal getting approved rather than fundamental performance," Handler wrote in a note. "The deal is not expected to close until late 2017 and will face a very tough regulatory review. Approval is not a certainty and could very well get denied."
Vanguard Telecommunication Services ETF
Deutsche Bank analyst Matthew Niknam, who rates AT&T a buy with a $45 price target, said the regulatory scrutiny is likely to be high, but these deals have usually cleared in the past. "While T/TWX is a vertical integration ( these deals have usually cleared, and this may not be subject to FCC review), we see major regulatory pushback, especially as this comes just one year after [AT&T and DirectTV] cleared," Niknam wrote in a research note.
iShares Global Telecom ETF
In a research note, BMO Capital Markets analyst Dan Salmon noted "the proposed acquisition by AT&T will likely be approved and puts the probability of a higher bid [from another suitor] at only 20%."