Global M&A value for the first nine months of 2018 hits third-highest level on record

  • Western Europe and North America M&A value up year-on-year
  • PE/VC value increases in CEE

The volume and value of global mergers and acquisitions (M&A) declined in the third quarter of 2018, according to M&A information collected by Bureau van Dijk, a Moody’s Analytics company, and the leading publisher of company information. In all, there were 21,045 deals worth a combined USD 1,111,124 million announced over the course of the three months. In terms of volume, this represents an 18 per cent decline on the 25,537 deals announced in Q2, while value slipped 25 per cent from USD 1,476,703 million over the same timeframe.

Bureau van Dijk’s research shows that although Q3 has been fairly disappointing in terms of the volume and value of announced M&A deals, 2018 actually appears to be on track to becoming one of the most valuable years for some time. The USD 4,079,053 million-worth of dealmaking recorded in the first three quarters of the year combined is higher than for the opening nine months of any other year on record, with the exception of 2015 (USD 4,323,766 million) and 2007 (USD 4,447,599 million). The largest deal announced in Q3 was worth USD 47,879 million and featured a UK target as Comcast won the bidding war for broadcaster Sky, fighting off competition from Twenty First Century Fox. This deal alone accounted for 4 per cent of total global value for the three months and was worth a little less than double the second-placed deal – a USD 27,000 million acquisition of Energy Transfer Partners by Energy Transfer Equity. Three deals broke the USD 20,000 million-barrier during the quarter under review, but five other deals surpassed USD 10,000 million and featured targets based in the US, Germany and Russia.

Lisa Wright, director at Bureau van Dijk, commented, “While the third quarter of 2018 was undoubtedly disappointing and fairly quiet when compared to the preceding three-month periods, it is worth remembering that the year as a whole remains on track to be one of the most valuable on record. The fact that sizeable deals, such as Comcast’s Sky takeover, continue to be announced is also positive. It will be interesting to see how Q4 develops – will Q3 simply prove to be a minor blip in an otherwise busy year, or is the decline a sign of things to come as we move towards 2019?”

Bureau van Dijk’s data shows that, in line with the overall pattern detected across M&A, the volume and value of global private equity and venture capital (PE and VC) dealmaking declined in Q3 2018. There were 5,747 such deals worth an aggregate USD 173,444 million announced during the three months, compared to the USD 257,925 million across 6,479 deals in Q2. The decline was less steep in a year-on-year comparison; in Q3 2017, there were 5,959 deals worth a combined USD 212,760 million. As with M&A activity, there were sizeable deals announced during the quarter; the top three deals all broke the USD 6,000 million-barrier, while the top ten all surpassed USD 2,500 million.

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