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Jim Cramer encourages all CEOs on the cusp of doing a big deal to think twice before trusting their advisors.
"Read my lips: No new big deals. Don't be fooled. The rules are now clear — the regulators want to stop them before they get started," the "Mad Money" host said.
"I am beginning to believe that the lawyers and investment bankers who advise executives about this process are either totally clueless or so arrogant it amounts to the same thing," Cramer said.
Times have changed for mergers. In the old days of 1984 when Cramer studied antitrust at Harvard, Chevron made a bid for Gulf which was highly anti-competitive. He asked his professor if the Justice Department would bless the deal, and was told that the antitrust division would simply look at how much potential competition there would be in the oil business and bless the deal out of hand.
Cramer said he made a killing on calls for Gulf, and it paid for that year of law school.
"Today is the opposite. They are looking to kill, not bless," Cramer said.
Dow and DuPont keep saying that there is no overlap in the deal, but that is not the issue in today's world, Cramer said. The new world is all about concentration and power that the companies could have over their clients one day. Regulators worry that if the two companies merge, the two companies will stop developing products that could compete with one another.
Even if the research budgets stay the same at Dow and DuPont, Cramer suspects the regulators may not bless the deal anyway.
As for the AT&T and Time Warner deal, Cramer doesn't expect regulators to play by the traditional rules. Traditional rules are that Time Warner makes content and AT&T distributes content, so there isn't an overlap, and the deal will go through.
New rules say that the entity could be so powerful that it could fail to develop new products to compete against Facebook and Alphabet. The entity could become so powerful that it will stifle creativity.
But of course, the advisors behind these deals think it's still a no-brainer, Cramer said.
"They are missing the big picture, which is no regulator ever got hurt saying no, particularly when both [political] parties are now aggressively anti-trust," Cramer said.
Everywhere Cramer looks he sees deals that he hates. He considered the deal to create four major airlines by allowing American Airlines to merge with U.S. Air and Continental to merge with United a large blunder.
"Neither party wants another stinker like that one on their hands," Cramer said.
Ultimately, advisors are clearly enticed by the fees. The fees are too great for all parties, especially for the lawyers and deal makers that block the deals. No one is strong enough to stand up and say no in an environment where fees are hard to come by, Cramer said.
So, the deals will get announced, drag on and then won't be done. Take one look at the killed deals for Lam Research and KLA-Tencor or the Halliburton-Baker Hughes tie up, and the answer is right there.