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ANALYSIS: How Frequent Are Mega Mega M&A Deals?

Jan. 21, 2022, 10:00 AM

The year has just begun and it has already made an important mark on M&A. 2022 brings to an end the longest span of time between announcements of a mega mega deal—valued at $50 billion or higher—in the past decade.

Looking at the frequency of M&A mega deals since Jan. 1, 2012, we see that Tuesday’s announcement of Microsoft Corp.’s planned acquisition of Activision Blizzard Inc. for $68.7 billion occurred more than two and a half years after the last announcement of a deal valued at $50 billion or higher: the $83.7 billion Allergan Ltd.–AbbVie Inc. deal in 2019.

Made with Flourish

Explore mega deals in the interactive graphic above. Hover over circles to see details of each deal, including the parties and the announced dollar value. If you’re reading this article on the Bloomberg Terminal, click here to view this interactive graphic.

The 938-day break that preceded the Activision–Microsoft announcement is by far the longest between extra-large deals that have been announced in the past decade. And it’s more than double the second-longest hiatus since then: the 377-day span between the $50.7 billion Energy Transfer Partners LP–Sunoco Logistics Partners LP deal announced on Nov. 21, 2016, and the $68 billion Aetna Inc.–CVS Health Corp. deal announced on Dec. 3, 2017. The next-longest break in time between huge deals was 258 days: the period of time between the announcements of the DIRECTV–AT&T Inc. and Allergan Inc.–Actavis plc deals, both of which occurred in 2014.

The past decade has seen the announcements of 301 mega deals, each valued at $10 billion or greater, that are either completed or are currently pending with definitive agreements in place. Counting the number of days between these announcements reveals an impressive frequency of one deal every 12 days. Meanwhile, the average period between mega mega deals—the 26 of these deals valued at $50 billion-plus—was 122 days. That’s a huge deal announced roughly every four months.

2021 vs. 2022

Last year, 36 mega deals were announced with an aggregate value of $617.8 billion, marking two different kinds of records. On one hand, this was the highest deal count since 2015—which was another historic year for M&A. On the other hand, last year’s average mega deal size of $17.1 billion marked the lowest average mega deal size for any year going as far back as 2012.

Last year’s high count of smaller mega deals is consistent with the recent tendency toward deals in the $1 billion-to-$10 billion range that has been identified as a pandemic sweet spot for dealmakers. But with the long drought of $50 billion deals officially over this week, we may see a much higher average mega deal size in 2022.

A note regarding data: As indicated in the source note of the data visualization above, the data set that is the subject of this analysis covers only M&A transactions for the control of the company or assets to be acquired.

Bloomberg Law subscribers can find related content on our M&A Deal Analytics resource.

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