2015 was an extraordinary year for global M&A activity. Mergermarket recorded almost 17,000
transactions worth a remarkable US$4.3tn. This topped the previous
record set in 2014 by over 30%. The race for top performing sector
this year was very close. Energy Mining & Utilities won with
US$630bn in deal value; however, the top performers were only
separated by US$150bn. The other four sectors in order are: Pharma,
Medical and Biotech, Consumer, Financial Services and Industrial
Once again North American markets lead the way with almost 1/3
of global deals and nearly 50% of global deal value. The US$1.5tn
in deal value is a 36.5% increase over last year's numbers and
shows the North American market is quite healthy. Average deal size
continued to climb throughout the year, with average deal size
reaching an all-time high of US$389.6m, solidifying 2015 as the
year of the mega deal. In spite of the drop in oil prices and
China's unstable economy, 2016 is shaping up to be another
solid year for M&A in North America. While it may not rise to
the record breaking levels of 2015, Mergermarket expects North
America's low unemployment and stable economy to propel it
Europe quietly had a good year, both in terms of value and
volume. Europe recorded US$1,099bn in deal value, a 22.5% increase,
while only losing 6% deal volume. The UK was absolutely crucial to
the success of the region in 2015. While the UK is already a hotbed
for activity in Europe, it saw a 171% increase in value in 2015,
playing host to 5 of the top 10 deals, and accounting for an almost
39% market share. The weaker Euro forced a steep, 28% decline in
outbound deal value from Europe for 2015. As well, European
investments in the US declined close to 20%. Despite all of this
Europe is trending upward. However with investors uncertain, much
of Europe's future depends on the European Central Bank's
Asia-Pacific (excl. Japan) set record after record in 2015.
Mergermarket announced their highest ever total for the region,
coming in at US$927.8bn, which is a 43% increase over 2014.
Moreover, while most other regions lost deal volume, Asia-Pacific
hit a record high with 3,377deals. Moreover, the region is
attracting larger deals than ever before. Deals over US$5bn,
doubled and average deal value increase of 26% Year-on-Year. China
was the main contributor to the outbound investment taking up 36%
of that market, while Australia dominated the inbound market taking
37.6%. The strong momentum of 2015 is expected to carry through to
2016, where an increase in acquisition of distressed assets and
merge-to-survive transactions are expected to play a key role.
Japan followed the rest of the Asia-Pacific region and had a
record-breaking year. It was a major market for mega-deals, and
that helped it nearly double its 2014 deal value on virtually the
same number of deals as 2014. The insurance sector in Japan has
helped spark the robust turn in the M&A market, and
Mergermarket intelligence predicts the foreign acquisition boom is
likely to continue for 2016.
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