2018 saw the number of deals struck over the year falling for the first time since 2010 to 19,232, after steadily rising for close to a decade, according to the new research, Transactions reached USD 3.5tn worth of activity, ranking 2018 as the third-largest year on Mergermarket record (since 2001) by value. Average deal size saw its second-highest total value on record with USD 384.8m, just below the USD 400.3m peak reached in 2015.
Davis Polk & Wardwell led the legal advisor rankings by deal value having advised on deals worth US$ 507bn up 24.6% compared to US$ 407.1bn in 2017. DLA Piper led the legal advisor rankings by deal count, having advised on 671 deals worth US$ 182.4bn up from 636 deals in 2017. Tim Wright, head of european private equity at DLA Piper, said ‘I am very proud that the DLA Piper European Private Equity team has won the top slot. The success reflects our continued private equity growth and whilst there have been some great individual performances, it is the team with its ability to deliver full-service integrated private equity advice across 14 European jurisdictions that has triumphed. All the scores are back to zero now but looking at what is in the pipeline the fingers are crossed for another great year." Goldman Sachs & Co led the financial advisor rankings by deal value having advised on 382 deals worth US$ 1tn up 19.8% compared to US$ 885bn in 2017. Deloitte led the financial advisor rankings by deal count, having advised on 468 deals worth US$ 61.94bn up from 390 deals in 2017.
China was a mixed picture. Chinese buys of US firms fell 94.6% to USD 3bn from a record USD 55.3bn in 2016, while bids in Europe increased 81.7% to USD 60.4bn from USD 33.2bn last year. Overall, cross-border count fell by 6.6% to 6,405, while valuations inched higher to USD 1.35tn from USD 1.27tn the year prior. Two industry sectors of note in 2018 were energy, mining & utilities, ranking first hitting its second-highest value on record with USD 673bn, and construction, which reached a new decade high of USD 116.5bn. Elizabeth Lim, Research Editor (Americas) at Mergermarket, commented ‘with so many market-moving factors fluctuating throughout the year, mergers and acquisitions have understandably had a somewhat ambivalent 2018. Intensifying trade tensions, political instability, and increased regulatory scrutiny took their toll on the number of deals struck over the year, though deal values remained relatively high.’ Click here to access the full report here.