Global M&A activity saw fewer but higher value transactions in the first half of 2019 (H1 2019), with total deal values increasing by 19% from the previous half year, while deal volumes fell by 12%. The trend was reflected in the Middle East, with total M&A deal values increasing fourfold from the last half of 2018, despite a slight dip in volumes, according to the latest report by global law firm Baker McKenzie*.
Global M&A started strong in H1 2019 when the total value of announced deals soared to over USD 2 trillion, buoyed by a number of domestic mega-mergers, particularly in the US. The top five deals of the period were all domestic deals, with companies shying away from big ticket cross-border transactions due to concerns over the volatility in equity markets. Cross-border M&A volumes dropped by 15% versus the same period last year, and values were also down by 45% compared to H1 2018.
In cross-border deal making, the US remained the top target and acquiring country. By value, Healthcare remained top target industry overall, featuring megadeals such as the Bristol-Myers Squibb/ Celgene USD 74 billion merger and the AbbVie/Allergan USD 63 billion merger. By volume, High Technology was again the top target industry overall.
Deal-making overall in the Middle East was driven by high-value deals in H1 2019, such as ADNOC’s USD 4 billion pipeline deal with BlackRock and KKR. Although overall deal volumes fell by 3% since H2 2018, transaction values grew fourfold, from USD 19.86 billion in H2 2018 to USD 104.4 billion in H1 2019. Despite a 12% drop in cross-border M&A deal volumes from H2 2018, deal values nearly doubled in H1 2019, rising from USD 14.26 billion in H2 2018 to USD 27.48 billion.
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