The "extraordinary surge" of dealmaking which picked up at the end of 2017 has continued into the first three months of 2018, figures released today revealed.
Activity hit its highest value since 2001 with pressure from shareholders and the search for innovation driving corporates towards M&A.
In the first quarter, $890.7bn (£632.8bn) was recorded across 3,774 deals. This was 18 per cent higher than the previous year. There have been 14 deals worth $10bn or more so far this year – topped by the $67.9bn tie-up between Cigna and Express Scripts.
Goldman Sachs led the financial advisor rankings with 76 deals worth $268.4bn.
The US registered a sizeable increase in M&A during the first three months of the year. Six of the largest 10 global deals targeted the country and accounted for a 44.2 per cent share of global activity by value.
Telecommunications and media was one of the key sectors in the first three months of 2018, registering over $129.9bn across 707 deals. The proposed takeover of Danish firm TDC by a consortium comprised of PFA, PKA, ATP and MIRA was the largest announced deal in the sector and the only one to break the US$ 10bn barrier.
“The extraordinary surge in dealmaking seen at the end of 2017 has carried through into 2018 as global M&A hit its highest first quarter value on record as pressure from investors and the search for innovation continues to push corporates towards M&A," said Jonathan Klonowski of Mergermarket, which prepared the figures.
Global private equity activity remains remarkably high, with many investors pursuing larger targets as the mid-market becomes saturated. In the first quarter there were 699 buyouts worth a total $113.6bn, compared to the $89.5bn (782 deals) in the first quarter of 2017, representing the strongest start to the year since 2007 ($212.7bn). It represents the fourth consecutive quarter in which buyout activity has reached $100bn.
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