Global M&A activity soars by 88 per cent to USD2.3tn in H2 2020

Global mergers and acquisitions (M&A) deal value amounted to USD3.6 trillion in 2020, a three-year low, just slightly higher than the previous low of USD3.2 trillion set in 2017.

According to the research data analysed and published by Sijoiturahastot, global M&A deal value in the first six months of the year totalled USD1.2 trillion. Compared to 2019, that was a 41 per cent decline. It was also the lowest H1 figure since H1 2013.

A strong second half nearly erased the disaster that was H1 2020. For two consecutive quarters in H2 2020, the M&A deal value surpassed USD1 trillion. Deal value for Q3 and Q4 2020 totalled USD2.3 trillion.

Compared to H1 2020, that marked an 88 per cent uptick and was the strongest consecutive half-year increase ever. The previous record was a 46 per cent increase in H2 1997. H2 2020 was also the strongest second half in history with regards to deal value.

Moreover, in 2020, the total number of deals worth USD10 billion and above was 21 per cent below the 2019 figure. But the number of deals valued between USD5 billion and USD10 billion increased by 38 per cent year-over-year (YoY) and their value rose by 36 per cent. The total number of mega deals (USD5 billion+) for the year was 116, up from 97 in 2019.

In the US, the global deal value for the year declined by 21 per cent YoY from USD2.2 trillion in 2019 to USD1.4 trillion. At the height of the pandemic, the US also had an 80 per cent decline in M&A activity.

But in Europe, there was a 34 per cent uptick as the figure rose from USD735 billion in 2019 to USD988.6 billion. Asia Pacific had a 15 per cent increase as its total deal value went from USD758 billion in 2019 to USD871.5 billion.