GLOBAL STATISTICAL UPDATE – XBMA Quarterly Review for Third Quarter 2020

Executive Summary/Highlights

  • Global M&A activity recovered in Q3 2020 as economies around the world began to reopen and dealmakers, focusing on existence-preserving activities in the first half of the year, returned their attention to M&A transactions. While global M&A volume in Q3 2020 was strong across the board, the continuing effects of the coronavirus pandemic, coupled with the upcoming U.S. presidential election, make it as difficult as ever to predict how the final quarter of 2020 will unfold.
  • Global M&A volume was US$1.1 trillion in Q3 2020, 94% more than volume in the frozen pandemic trough of Q2 2020 (US$559 billion), and also 36% more than Q3 2019 (US$800 billion). For the first three quarters of 2020, global M&A volume was US$2.3 trillion, a decrease of 19% from the first three quarters of 2019 (US$2.9 trillion).
  • The third quarter’s global M&A volume was strong not only relative to the first half of 2020, but also historically: Q3 2020 global M&A volume was the highest volume for a third quarter since 2007 (US$1.1 trillion) and represented US$4.3 trillion on an annualized basis, which would be the second highest annual global M&A volume in the last 10 years, and the highest since 2015 (US$4.6 trillion). Global M&A volume in 2020 is now on pace to reach US$3.1 trillion, which represents a vastly improved outlook for annual M&A volume as compared to annualized data as of mid-year (US$2.5 trillion).
  • U.S. M&A volume surged in Q3 2020, reaching US$430 billion in Q3 2020, an increase of 221% from Q2 2020 (US$134 billion) and 53% from Q3 2019 (US$281 billion).
  • Large and mega deals accounted for US$336 billion and US$431 billion of global volume in Q3 2020, respectively, representing increases of 211% and 107% from Q2 2020 (US$108 billion for large deals and US$208 billion for mega deals in Q2 2020) and 39% and 98% from Q3 2019 (US$242 billion for large deals and US$218 billion for mega deals in Q3 2019), respectively.
  • Cross-border M&A activity, which slowed materially as a result of the coronavirus pandemic in the first half of the year, increased significantly in Q3 2020, bringing cross-border M&A activity across the first three quarters of the year to near-2019 levels. In Q3 2020, cross-border M&A volume was US$347 billion, 38% above the volume in Q2 2020 (US$251 billion).
  • M&A volumes increased all over the world, with North American M&A volume increasing 226%, Japanese M&A volume increasing 293% (mostly attributable to a single mega deal), Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan) M&A volume increasing 79% and European M&A volume increasing 23%, in each case from Q2 2020.
  • The largest deals in Q3 2020 were Nippon Telegraph and Telephone’s US$40 billion related-party acquisition of NTT DOCOMO, NVIDIA’s US$40 billion acquisition of UK-headquartered ARM, Gilead’s US$21 billion acquisition of Immunomedics and Seven & i Holdings’ US$21 billion acquisition of Speedway.

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