GLOBAL STATISTICAL UPDATE – XBMA Quarterly Review for Third Quarter 2015

Executive Summary/Highlights:

  • Global M&A volume in Q3 exceeded US$1 trillion, a quarterly figure second only to 2015’s Q2 in recent years.  M&A volume through the first three quarters was US$3.2 trillion (an increase of 30% over the same period in 2014), and year-to-date volume through the date of publication is the strongest on record.  These USD figures were recorded despite the strength of the dollar when measuring values for deals struck in other currencies.
  • Global M&A activity in 2015 is on pace to reach US$4.2 trillion, a nearly 30% jump compared to 2014 (itself the strongest year since 2007).
  • Despite the recent stock market volatility, concerns about a slowing Chinese economy, falling commodity prices, and the prospect of near-term interest rate increases in the United States, M&A activity has carried its momentum through 2015.  This trend is largely being driven by large corporate cash balances (carried at virtually zero return) and still relatively high stock prices that together provide strong acquisition currency; attractive financing for most corporate borrowers; continued industry consolidation and competitive pressure; and the search for global scale and synergies.
  • North American targets accounted for more than US$600 billion of the US$1 trillion of global M&A volume in Q3, with a significant portion of that activity attributable to a series of transformative strategic deals involving U.S. companies, albeit often highly globalized competitors.
  • At its current pace, pure cross-border M&A activity will account for 35% of global deal volume in 2015, which is consistent with recent levels.  Three of the 10 largest deals in Q3 were cross-border transactions, with the balance involving U.S. companies.
  • Megadeals continued in Q3, with deals in excess of US$10 billion accounting for approximately 37% of global M&A volume.  Six deals in Q3 exceeded US$20 billion in value.
  • Healthcare and Energy & Power were the strongest M&A sectors in Q3, with Healthcare and Financials leading cross-border M&A activity.

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