Global M&A Deals Hit All-Time High of $3.46B; U.S. Slides to No.2

The total value of announced M&A activity worldwide reached $3.46 trillion for the year to date period, exceeding the $3.33 trillion for all announced mergers and acquisitions deals in 2000, according to Dealogic.  However the number of deals announced so far this year are 28,312, lower than the 31,019 for all of 2000. 

Private equity firms accounted for 22% of total global M&A volume in the first nine months of the year, hitting a new record of $570.1 billion in deals.

Meanwhile, Europe has overtaken the United States as the most targeted region, attracting $1.34 trillion or 40% of total deal value, compared with a U.S. share of 36%, or $1.22 trillion, Dealogic said. Demographics and economic change are driving corporate restructuring and facilitating M&A activity in Europe, experts say.  U.S. share of the M&A deals has come down from 46%, or $1.53 trillion, in 2000, according to Dealogic data from last week.

Some key factors for the high M&A activity:

  • the surplus of cash held by private equity firms and public companies
  • interest rates that are at historic lows and 
  • the willingness of banks to provide financing. 

Just today, over $50 billion worth deals were announced, including the Blackstone private equity group's deal to buy Equity Office Properties Trust, the nation's largest publicly traded office-building owner and manager, for $19 billion plus debt. This would be the third-largest leveraged buyout on record behind the $25.1 billion paid for RJR Nabisco in 1988 and the recent $21.2 billion deal to take HCA Inc. private.

Of the top 10 biggest deals ever (minus debt), eight have been announced since the beginning of this year, according to Thomson Financial. 

  1. HCA Inc. ($21.2 billion)
  2. Equity Office Properties Trust ($19 billion)
  3. Clear Channel Communications Inc. ($18.8 billion) 
  4. Freescale Semiconductor Inc. ($17.7 billion) 
  5. Harrah's Entertainment Inc. ($15.4 billion) 
  6. Kinder Morgan Inc. ($14.6 billion) 
  7. Univision Communications Inc. ($12.1 billion) 
  8. Albertson's Inc. ($11 billion) 

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