Executive Summary/Highlights:

  • Global M&A reached an all-time high in 2015, with record volume of almost US$5 trillion, beating 2007’s prior (inflation adjusted) record of US$4.7 trillion. Q4 2015 was the most active quarter ever, with more than US$1.5 trillion in deals announced, including the two largest deals of 2015 – Pfizer’s acquisition of Allergan and AB InBev’s acquisition of SABMiller.
  • 2015 also accounted for the highest cross-border deal volume (US$1.6 trillion) since the financial crisis, with cross-border deals announced in 2015 accounting for four out of the 10 largest deals of the year (Pfizer/Allergan and AB InBev/SABMiller, plus Royal Dutch Shell’s acquisition of BG Group and Teva Pharmaceutical’s acquisition of Allergan’s generic drug business).
  • “Megadeals” dominated the deal landscape in 2015, with six deals over US$50 billion and 152 deals over US$5 billion.
  • The Healthcare sector led overall M&A volume in 2015, in large part due to megadeals such as Pfizer/Allergan and Teva/Allergan. The Energy & Power, Financials, Industrials, Healthcare, and Consumer Staples sectors all had strong cross-border volumes in 2015.
  • Drivers of the robust activity included a number of financial factors, such as strong corporate earnings, large corporate cash balances in search of yield, continued availability of attractive debt financing to well-capitalized borrowers, and still relatively high stock prices, as well as business factors including industry consolidation in a number of sectors and a thirst for technology and brands in growing economies.

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