Global M&A Up 75% YTD; The US Dominates; Mega Deals Equal Record Set in 2018

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HFA Staff
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  • Mergers and acquisitions worth a combined US$522 billion were announced globally during the first two months of 2024, 75% more than the value recorded during the same period in 2023, which saw the slowest annual start for deal making since 2009.
  • Nine mega deals, each worth US$10 billion or more, were recorded during the first two months of 2024, equalling the all-time record set in 2018.
  • The US dominated, with deals involving US targets accounting for 64% of overall global M&A activity during the first two months of 2024, the highest share since the 1980s.  US target M&A totalled US$333 billion, a 147% increase from last year and the fourth highest year-to-date period since our records began in 1980.  Eighty-eight percent were domestic deals, involving a US buyer.
  • European M&A totalled US$80.4 billion, 88% more than last year but lower than every other January to February total since 2019.  Asia-Pacific M&A declined 23% to an 11-year low of US$65.9 billion, dragged down by a 36% decline in China M&A activity.
  • Boosted by Capital One’s US$35.3 billion proposed takeover of Discover Financial Services, Financials was the leading sector accounting for 18% of total global M&A.  Technology followed closely, accounting for 17%, with deals including Synopsis Inc’s US$32.4 billion offer for software firm Ansys, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s US$14.0 billion bid for Juniper Networks.  With the exception of the industrials, materials and consumer staples industries, all sectors saw an increase in the value of M&A compared to last year.

Lucille Jones, Senior Manager, LSEG Deals Intelligence comments: “2023 saw the lowest level of global M&A activity in a decade as ongoing geopolitical tensions, interest rates, recession fears and stricter antitrust enforcement curbed the appetite for risk taking.  While many of these headwinds will continue to impact decisions in 2024, and we can add upcoming elections and supply chain issues to the list, there are reasons to be optimistic for more deal making this year.   A more stable financing environment and the expectation for rate cuts in the coming months has made it easier for dealmakers to price, execute and plan their deals, and the recent improvement in the financial markets seems to be stimulating the M&A market.  There is also a pent-up buyer demand and a build-up in seller assets after low-level activity over the last 18 months.

“The year is off to a good start – M&A announcements worth a combined US$522 billion were recorded globally during the first two months of 2024, a 75% increase from last year, driven by US mega deals.”

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