Executive Summary/Highlights:

  • Global M&A was robust in 2014, hitting two noteworthy post-crisis high-water marks: total global volume reached US$3.5 trillion, and cross-border volume reached US$1.38 trillion.
  • Cross-border M&A reached its highest level since the financial crisis, accounting for 40% of global M&A in 2014, and included some of the year’s largest deals, including many above US$10 billion and a number of real blockbusters.
    • Deals involving an emerging economy acquirer and a developed economy target grew 26.7%, while deals involving a developed economy acquirer and an emerging economy target grew 4.7%.
  • Cross-border M&A volume involving a Chinese target or acquirer rebounded in 2014, with Chinese inbound M&A activity up 63% and outbound M&A activity up 42%.
  • “Megadeals” continued to make a comeback, with more than 90 deals over US$5 billion announced in 2014.
  • Drivers of the robust activity included strong corporate earnings, large corporate cash balances in search of yield, continued availability of highly attractive financing to well-capitalized borrowers, and generally high stock prices, as well as a focus on industry consolidation in a number of sectors and a thirst for technology, natural resources, and brands in growing economies.

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