Global M&A value hit record high in Q1 2018, reveals new report

BY Fraser Tennant

The dramatic surge in dealmaking activity at the tail end of 2017 has continued into 2018, with the value of global M&A reaching a record Q1 value, according to a new report by Mergermarket.

In its ‘Global & Regional M&A Report Q1 2018’, the M&A data and intelligence provider notes that: (i) global M&A reached record levels as corporates pursue innovation through M&A; (ii) private equity (PE) activity recorded its fourth consecutive $100bn figure quarter for buyouts; and (iii) Q1 2018 deal value is up 18 percent on Q1 2017’s value, recording $890.7bn (across 3774 deals).

In addition, while large tech companies have looked to diversify their offering through M&A, more traditional firms also had to react to newer, more innovative firms, with many looking towards defensive consolidation. Recent trade disputes between China and the US have served to boost these defensive strategies further.

Furthermore, global PE activity remained remarkably high, with many investors pursuing larger targets as the mid-market became saturated. In Q1 2018 there were 699 buyouts worth a total of $113.6bn, representing the strongest start to the year since 2007. Q1 2018 is also the fourth consecutive quarter in which buyout activity has reached the $100bn figure.

“The extraordinary surge in dealmaking seen at the end of 2017 has carried through into 2018,” said Jonathan Klonowski, EMEA research editor at Mergermarket. “Global M&A hit its highest Q1 value on record as pressure from investors and the search for innovation continues to push corporates towards M&A. PE activity also rebounded to pre-financial crash highs.”

In addition, the report reveals that 14 deals which breached the $10bn mark have been recorded so far this year, including the $67.9bn deal between Cigna and Express Scripts and the $46.6bn transaction which will see German utility Eon acquire Innogy, a subsidiary of German energy company RWE. 

Mr Klonowski added: “Following on from the trend seen in 2017, intra-European dealmaking has once again been active across the continent in the first quarter with the top three deals all being conducted between European companies.”

Report: Global & Regional M&A Report Q1 2018

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