GLOBAL STATISTICAL UPDATE – XBMA Quarterly Review for First Quarter 2021

Executive Summary/Highlights

  • Global M&A volume reached record highs in Q1 2021. As Covid-19 vaccines became more widely available and economies reopened, M&A volume reached the largest first quarter deal volume on record since records started being kept in 1980.
  • In Q1 2021, global M&A volume was US$1.34 trillion, a 1.7% increase from Q4 2020 (US$1.32 trillion) and a substantial 93% increase from Q1 2020 (US$694 billion). If the current levels of M&A activity continue over the balance of the year, global M&A volume in 2021 is projected to reach US$5.4 trillion, an increase of approximately 45% from 2020 (US$3.7 trillion).
  • Cross-border M&A volume was US$466 billion in Q1 2021, the highest first-quarter volume of cross-border M&A since Q1 2007 (US$536 billion). Cross-border transactions represented half of the 10 largest deals of 2021, and the US$31 billion cross-border acquisition of GE Capital Aviation Services (U.S.) by AerCap (Ireland) was the largest M&A transaction of Q1 2021.
  • U.S. M&A volume was especially robust in Q1 2021, reaching US$671 billion in Q1 2021, an increase of 12% from Q4 2020 (US$601 billion) and 158% from Q1 2020 (US$260 billion). Q1 2021 U.S. M&A volume was the highest quarterly U.S. M&A volume since Q2 2007 (US$749 billion) and 102% higher than the average first-quarter volume of U.S. M&A over the last 10 years (US$332 billion).
  • In an era of accelerating adoption of virtual communication, distance learning and remote employment, the High Technology sector continued to lead all other major industry sectors in M&A volume in the last 12 months, representing US$889 billion of global M&A volume and accounting for over 20% of global M&A volume in the aggregate. In Q1 2021, 21% of total global M&A volume was attributable to the High Technology sector (US$274 billion).
  • M&A involving special purpose acquisition companies (“SPACs”) continued to be robust in Q1 2021, accounting for US$295 billion of global M&A volume in Q1 2021, an increase of 125% from Q4 2020 (US$131 billion) and 530% from Q1 2020 (US$47 billion), and contributing 22% of the quarter’s total global M&A volume.

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