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‘Mega-Deals’ More Than Double Following M&A Drought

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After a drought, the merger and acquisition (M&A) landscape is in bloom.

Major M&A deals — agreements worth at least $10 billion — more than doubled during the first quarter of this year, the Financial Times reported Thursday (March 28), citing data from the London Stock Exchange Group.

Eleven of these deals, valued at a total of $215 billion, were forged during the first three months of 2024, compared to five takeovers — valued at $100 billion — in last year’s first quarter, per the report.

“Mega-deals are thriving,” Tyler Dickson, head of investment banking at Citi, said in the report. He noted that companies are “capitalizing on the market conditions to accelerate growth.”

The overall value of global M&A rose 30% to $690 billion, even as the total number of deals announced dropped by nearly a third, according to the report. It’s a jump in activity that follows last year’s decade-long low.

“We’re back to average, or back to normal,” said Andre Kelleners, head of M&A in Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Goldman Sachs, per the report. “We’ve seen a real, robust rebound from exceptionally low levels this period a year ago.”

Some of the biggest deals happening during the quarter were chip design toolmaker Synopsys’ January takeover of engineering software maker Ansys, and Capital One’s acquisition last month of Discover Financial, both worth $35 billion.

The latter deal was notable for more than just the size of the price tag.

“Bringing the two credit card giants together would pave the path toward creating a banking giant with particular expertise in serving the paycheck-to-paycheck consumer well beyond the credit cards that have been hallmarks of both firms,” PYMNTS reported after the deal was announced. “It would also leverage data and cross-border capabilities to forge a banking ecosystem.”

Meanwhile, an event hosted by Citi earlier this month centered on the resurgence of M&A as well as initial public offerings (IPOs).

“Companies like Swiss skincare company Galderma and German perfume retailer Douglas are contemplating going public,” PYMNTS wrote March 19. “Private markets are also experiencing improved momentum, with U.K. neobank Monzo recently raising 340 million pounds ($432 million) in a funding round.”