2018 is on pace to be a record-breaking year for corporate consolidation. In the first three quarters of the year, companies around the world announced merger and acquisition deals worth a total of $3.3 trillion, the most since record keeping began nearly four decades ago. Much of that value is coming out of the United States.
Deals announced involving American companies in the first nine months of the year were worth over $1.3 trillion — more than 40% of all global M&A activity and more than the total value of deals in Europe, Australia, Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East combined. Domestically, the energy and power industry accounted for the largest share of deal volume, followed by technology, and healthcare.
Companies typically engage in M&A deals to increase their market share and improve their business model — and the future of the companies involved in such deals can vary. M&A deals can result in two companies consolidating to form an entirely new company; in the dissolution of one company after it is bought by another; or in a company simply operating under the umbrella of a new parent company — depending on the specifics.
Recent high-profile domestic M&A deals include tech giant Amazon’s mid-2017 acquisition of grocery store chain Whole Foods for $13.7 billion and drug store CVS’s $69 billion merger with health insurer Aetna, which was announced in December of last year.
The largest deals of 2018 include the acquisition of a soft drink company, a major consolidation in the wireless communications industry, and a merger between a health insurance juggernaut and pharmaceutical distribution company. Some of this year’s deals rank among the largest of all time by total value.
24/7 Wall St. identified the biggest mergers of the year using data on M&A announcements in for the first three quarters of 2018 from Thomson and Reuters. We ranked deals based on total estimated value and only considered mergers between American companies.