Global M&A sets Q1 record, Refinitiv says

By James Langton | April 14, 2021 | Last updated on April 14, 2021
1 min read
Abstract - world connect
© Romolo Tavani / Thinkstock

The global mergers and acquisitions (M&A) market had a record first quarter this year with US$1.3 trillion in deal activity, according to new data from Refinitiv.

M&A deal value rose by 94% in the first quarter, compared with the same quarter last year.

The total fell shy of the all-time record of US$1.4 trillion in the second quarter of 2007, but was a record for the first quarter.

The tech sector generated 21% of the deal activity, with US$274 billion in transactions, Refinitiv said. The number of tech deals was up 42% from the same quarter last year.

The financial sector ranked second, accounting for 16% of overall deal activity, and the industrials sector was third with 13% of the deal value.

Transactions involving special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) accounted for US$232.1 billion of the deal activity in the quarter, across 110 transactions.

While SPAC deals represented 17% of quarterly deal value, private equity–backed buyouts amounted to 19%.

By geography, the U.S produced about 50% of the first quarter deal activity — US$670.5-billion worth, up 161% from the same period last year.

Activity in the Asia Pacific region was up 48%, and European M&A rose by 23%.

Goldman Sachs led the advisory league tables followed by J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley.

Several Canadian firms ranked highly amid a handful of large deals involving Canadian companies.

BMO Capital Markets was the top ranked Canadian firm, in 14th place, followed by TD Securities (17th), CIBC World Markets (20th) and RBC Capital Markets (24th).

James Langton headshot

James Langton

James is a senior reporter for and its sister publication, Investment Executive. He has been reporting on regulation, securities law, industry news and more since 1994.