- Cross-border and cross-regional deal values in Q4 rose to the highest levels ever recorded in a single quarter, totaling US$597.4bn and US$390.1bn respectively
- North America went on an EU buying spree, with 147 deals worth US$236.3bn, pushing totals for FY 2015 to 715 deals worth US$373.2bn
- Across the world, cross-border M&A activity remained strong in 2015, comprising 39% of total transactions at US$1.66tn, a 17% increase in value over 2014
- The value of cross-regional deals pursued by buyers from Africa, Asia Pacific, the Middle East and North America surpassed 2014, while those originating from the EU, Latin America and Other Europe dropped
In the fourth quarter of 2015, cross-regional M&A activity rose to 719 deals worth US$390.1bn, a 25% drop in deal volume but 31% increase in deal value over the same period last year. Transactions involving North America buyers targeting the EU accounted for 61% of that US$390.1bn, bolstered by US-based Pfizer’s US$183.7bn acquisition of Ireland-based Allergan — the largest healthcare deal ever.
Driven by renewed confidence in North America and lower EU asset prices, North American buyers targeted the EU’s healthcare (US$194.4bn), industrials (US$32.8bn) and financial services sectors (US$26.3bn). Examples of this trend include Visa Inc.’s acquisition of Visa Europe for US$18.2bn, and US-based Hellman & Friedman’s acquisition of Swedish security firm Verisure for US$5.9bn — a transaction that pushed the number of EU buyouts by North American private equity firms to 150 deals worth US$47.3bn in FY 2015.
Across the world, cross-border M&A activity remained strong in 2015, comprising 39% of total transactions at US$1.66tn, a 17% increase in value over 2014. Buyers from North America, Asia Pacific, Africa and the Middle East were the most aggressive. Cross-regional deals involving North American buyers reached US$467.1bn, up 48% from 2014. Those originating from Asia Pacific rose 39% to US$186.7bn. Outbound deals from Africa increased 84% to US$9.1bn while those originating from the Middle East nearly tripled to US$76.4bn.
On the target side, the value of inbound acquisitions into the EU rose 52% in FY 2015, reaching US$487.8bn, driven by buying activity from North America and Asia Pacific. Inbound M&A into Africa jumped 73% to US$19bn and acquisitions targeting the Middle East grew 19% to US$9.7bn.
By contrast, the value of cross-regional activity targeting Latin America fell 55%, dampened by Brazil’s economic slowdown. Inbound transactions into Russia and the rest of the CEE region dropped 62%, the result of falling energy prices and concern about the conflict in Ukraine.