The prospect of BellSouth being bought out by AT&T has been a topic of discussion on these pages, much of it unhappy but resigned. Mostly this merger has been seen as a done deal--the prevailing regulatory atmosphere has been such that it was hard to imagine any merger that wouldn't be approved by the current administration with little concern for consumer concerns.
But that climate may be changing soon:
If Democrats gain control of the House or - though less likely - the Senate, that would change the regulatory climate for telecom mergers, analysts say.
"AT&T is taking somewhat of a risk (by holding out for the fewest conditions) in that potential success by the Democrats could embolden the opposition," Merrill Lynch analyst David Janazzo wrote in a note to clients.
If Democrats win the House, then in January they would take over the chairmanships of committees that oversee telecom regulation. Levin says congressional hearings then "wouldn't be fun" for AT&T.
That gives you one more thing to think about as the returns come in Tuesday night.