This Is the Largest Merger of the Past 20 Years

Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are big business. Investment bankers can make hundreds of millions of dollars in fees. So can law firms that advise the parties on the contracts. Reuters reports that M&A deals reached $5 trillion in value. Brokers easily could have taken 1% of that in compensation.

Many mergers and acquisitions fail to make the companies money. One Harvard Business Review study showed that 70% to 90% of M&A deals fail. They do not deliver on the promise that one plus one equals something better than two.

The M&A business is decades old. Some of the largest companies in the world were built via M&A deals. So were some conglomerates. America’s largest car company, General Motors, was built through the purchase of many other car companies. The Federal Trade Commission reviews over 1,000 merger filings per year to ensure a merger will not significantly reduce competition or that the resulting company will not be a monopoly. Many of these filings go unnoticed, but each year, a number of deals are worth incredibly large sums of money and create headlines. There have been over 100 mergers with a total transaction value of more than $20 billion since 2000.

To determine the largest M&A deal of the past 20 years, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the 2021 FactSet Mergerstat Review published April 2021 by Business Valuation Resources. Mergers and acquisitions were ranked based on the total announced sale price. Data on the announcement year also came from Mergerstat.

The largest mergers have taken place in a number of different industries: tech, pharmaceutical, telecom, energy, entertainment and more. Following the mergers and acquisitions, the resulting companies became some of the largest, best-known and most financially successful businesses in the world.

The largest M&A deal of the past 20 years was Verizon Communications and Vodafone (Cellco Partnership). The transaction was announced in 2013, and the total transaction value was $128.7 billion.

Click here to see all the largest mergers of the past 20 years.

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