While equity investors had a brutal Q4, with the S&P 500 dropping more than 14% and giving up most of the year’s gains, global M&A volume rose nearly 9% over the third quarter, with 2,762 transactions completed in Q4 2018, up from 2,542 in Q3, ensuring that 2018 ended on a positive note. Those solid Q4 numbers meant that for the year, worldwide deal volume rose nearly 2% overall, from 12,078 in 2017 to 12,309 in 2018.
North America ended the year once more as the dominant market with 6,727 deals closed in 2018, just slightly down 1% from last year’s 6,801. Chinese transaction volume grew slightly at 1% over 2017 (to 641 from 629). Yet despite the strong M&A volume in both regions, the major gains made came not from the New World or the world’s newest economic superpower but from Europe.
In 2018, the annual number of M&A deals in Europe rose to 4,941 in 2018 from 4,649 in 2017. Perhaps even more surprisingly, most of the gains came out of Brexit-torn United Kingdom and Ireland. M&A activity in the region rose by nearly 27% in 2018 (1802 deals from 1414), as investors – particularly foreign investors – refused to let the political fog obscure the value they saw in the mid-market.
The Global Acquirer Trends is a quarterly report focusing on M&A activity across key international markets.
For the full Global Acquirer Trends Report, click in the link below.