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Merger and acquisition activity in Canada remained robust in the second quarter, according to new data from Toronto’s Crosbie & Co.

The firm reported that, with $175-billion-worth of deals in the first half of 2021 — and around 2,000 transactions — Canadian M&A was off to its strongest start on record.

There were 990 transactions in the second quarter, representing $93 billion in deal value.

Yet, while the value of deals in the second quarter was up from the previous quarter, the volume of transactions was down about 2%.

“We don’t read anything into the slight decline,” said Colin Walker, managing director at Crosbie & Co. in a release.

“There was likely some catching up that occurred in some of the prior quarters but we know from our own practice and everything we hear that there is a tremendous amount of front-end activity out there. This should drive announcements for the next few quarters,” he said.

“We fully expect the trend to continue given the multiple tailwinds for M&A – both public and private,” he added.

Crosbie & Co. reported that there were 13 mega-deals (transactions valued at more than $1 billion) in the second quarter, worth a combined value of $69.7 billion. Those were led by Canadian National Railway’s $41.1-billion bid for Kansas City Southern, topping a previous bid by Canadian Pacific.

By sector, tech deals continued to lead the way in the second quarter, with 141 transactions valued at $3.3 billion.

The mining sector was also strong with 125 transactions, although they only amounted to $446 million in deal value; implying smaller transaction sizes.

Real estate ranked third with 108 transactions and a total deal value of almost $10 billion.

Crosbie also reported that even though domestic M&A activity was very strong in the second quarter, “what might be surprising is the strength of cross-border M&A in the context of what has effectively been an 18-month border closure between the United States and Canada.”

Cross-border activity generated 458 transactions, which was almost half of the second-quarter dealmaking. Nearly 300 of those deals represented acquisitions by Canadian companies of foreign targets.