Global M&A Activity Accelerates in First Quarter

Global merger and acquisition activity over the first three months of 2014 was up by a third from the same period a year ago, according to the latest
‘Global M&A Trend Report’
issued by The Mergermarket Group.

Mergermarket, part of the Financial Times Group whose parent is Pearson, reports that global M&A activity totalled US$599.1bn in Q114, a 33.2% rise from the Q113 figure of US$449.6bn. The total comprised US$343.7bn of domestic deals and US$255.3bn of cross-border deals. The lead sector in Q114 was telecommunications, contributing deals totalling US$101bn – a 133.3% increase over Q113.

US targeted M&A value raced ahead during the period, with a 55.9% year-on-year increase to US$277.8bn from US$178.2bn. It was the highest Q1 figure since 2007, when deals totalling US$361.4bn were agreed.

The average deal size in the US stood at US$632.8m in Q114, the highest Q1 average since 2009 and 35.3% higher than Q113’s US$467.7m. Again, the telecommunications sector was the biggest single contributor, with a figure of US$71.8bn.

The US technology sector, at US$ 38.1bn, beat all previous Q1 values and saw the highest quarterly value in over seven years (Q3 2006 valued at US$ 40.3bn). A second consecutive Q1 increase saw values jump 40.6% compared to Q113 (US$ 27.1bn).

Europe was more subdued, with M&A deals of US$160.6bn in Q114 marking a 19.2% increase on a year ago. Although telecommunications was the biggest single sector here too, the figure of US$23bn for deals was down 29.7% on Q113.

The lead advisor on deals in both the US and Europe during Q114 was Morgan Stanley, while Goldman Sachs took pole position in Asia Pacific, excluding Japan.

The real estate sector dominated in Asia Pacific, contributing US$19.7bn in deals to the Q114 total for the region of US$101.6bn, a 36.3% year on year increase.

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