Executive Summary/Highlights

  • Global M&A volume approached US$3.9 trillion in 2019, the third highest annual total in the last decade, despite increasing global economic and political headwinds.
  • Strong economic growth, low interest rates, record amounts of private equity dry powder and the availability of corporate cash fueled global M&A in 2019.
  • The boom was strongest in the United States, which made up for pockets of weakness elsewhere, with US$1.8 trillion in U.S. M&A volume for the year, the second highest annual total in the last decade, representing almost half of the year’s global M&A volume.
  • Domestic mega deals (transactions involving acquirers and targets in the same country valued at US$5 billion or greater) were the primary driver of global M&A volume in 2019. Domestic mega deal volume was US$255.8 billion in Q4 2019 and US$1.3 trillion in 2019, which was the largest annual volume of domestic mega deals in the last decade.
  • Cross-border M&A activity declined in 2019, tempered by trade tensions, rising anti-globalism and general macroeconomic and geopolitical uncertainty. Cross-border M&A volume reached just US$1.2 trillion for the year, the lowest annual volume of cross-border M&A since 2013 (US$794 billion), representing only 30% of global M&A volume.
  • The largest deals of 2019 were Bristol-Myers Squibb’s US$93.4 billion acquisition of Celgene, United Technologies’ US$89.8 billion combination with Raytheon and AbbVie’s US$83.9 billion acquisition of Allergan.

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