New heights for global M&A activity

By James Langton | November 18, 2021 | Last updated on November 18, 2021
2 min read
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Global M&A activity is continuing to set records, with more than 52,000 deals made so far this year and topping the $5-trillion mark for the first time (all figures are in U.S. dollars), according to new data from Refinitiv.

Corporate dealmaking is setting records in terms of both the volume and value of deal activity.

At this point last year, there had been 43,000 M&A transactions worldwide. And this year is 22% ahead of last year’s levels, with the volume of deals already surpassing the highest full-year total on record, the firm reported.

In terms of deal value, the $5-trillion-worth of M&A deals so far this year is “already 40% more than the value recorded during the whole of last year,” said Lucille Jones, analyst at Refinitiv, adding that this is also “smashing the all-time full year record of $4.2 trillion, recorded in 2015, by 19%.”

The U.S. is leading the way in the surge of M&A, accounting for 45% of global activity so far this year. China and the U.K. are running a distant second and third place, at 9% and 7% respectively.

In terms of deal value, the U.S. activity to date totals $2.3 trillion — “double the value recorded during the same period last year and already an all-time annual record,” Refinitiv said.

European deal value is up 41% so far from last year, and M&A in the Asia Pacific region has risen 45% to a record of $1.06 trillion.

The tech sector is leading the flurry of dealmaking, Refinitiv said, as it accounts for about 20% of the global activity and almost double last year’s total.

Additionally, there has been record so-called “mega deal” activity, with 154 transactions of at least $5 billion so far in 2021, compared with 110 of these giant deals in 2020.

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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.