Executive Summary/Highlights:

  • Global M&A volume in 2012 reached US$2.6 trillion, marking the third consecutive year of steady deal volume in the US$2.6 trillion per annum range.
  • Uncertainty and other familiar constraints held back the M&A markets for the first three quarters of 2012, but deal volume surged in Q4 which, coupled with stabilizing markets, cash stockpiles and cheap credit for certain borrowers, bodes well for continued deal activity in 2013.
  • Larger deals (exceeding US$10 billion in value) rebounded, with 16 deals exceeding US$10 billion in value, and 10 deals exceeding US$15 billion in value.
  • Notably, spin-offs and divestitures accounted for almost half of global M&A activity in 2012.
  • Cross-border transaction volume in 2012 exceeded 2011 by a small margin, accounting for 36% of global M&A in 2012 compared to 35% in 2011. The domestic/cross-border split has been consistent over the past three years, still markedly lower than its pre-crisis level in 2007.
  • For the second consecutive year, the volume of deals involving a developed economy acquiror and an emerging economy target declined, while the volume of deals involving an emerging economy acquiror and a developed economy target increased, as emerging market companies increasingly look abroad for new markets and resources and seek ways to deploy foreign capital reserves.
  • Energy & Power continued to dominate global and cross-border deal volume.

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