BY Richard Summerfield
2014 was a significant year for M&A activity. As the global economy shrugged off the stymieing effects of the previous decade's financial crisis, M&A returned to the top of the agenda in many corporate boardrooms. Accordingly, 2014 saw a considerable upswing in both deal value and volume.
As 2015 unfolds, it would appear that the substantial momentum witnessed last year has continued into the first quarter of 2015, as noted in Pitchbook's 2Q 2015 M&A Report
According to the report, M&A activity in Europe and the US in the first quarter of 2015 performed admirably, recording an 8 percent increase in deal flow and a 12 percent increase in aggregate deal value on a quarterly basis. The combined value of completed Q4 2014 and Q1 2015 deals approached $1 trillion. As a result of the uptick in M&A activity over the last year and a quarter, there is considerable optimism in boardrooms globally.
In Q1, 4220 deals were completed for a value of $492bn, a 12 percent increase over a strong Q4 2014 and a year on year leap of 74 percent. Throughout Q1, the healthcare sector contributed over $200bn worth of activity to the quarter’s total, accounting for 41 percent of all activity in the period.
While big ticket M&A transactions returned to the fore in 2014, many of the 2015 deals announced to date can be classified as ‘mega mergers’. According to Pitchbook’s data the number of Q1 deals recorded in excess of $5bn has already more than equalled the total of the first three quarters of 2014. As such, mega mergers are expected to remain a key feature of M&A activity this year. Acatvis’ $70.5bn acquisition of rival firm Allergan was one of the most notable deals executed in Q1, and there is considerable expectation that deals of that size might soon become the rule, not the exception.
Report: 2Q 2015 M&A Report