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While 2015, with $4.28tr worth of M&A activity - the highest ever for one year - was surely a tough act to follow, businesses were spooked this year by the uncertain economic environment created ahead of the EU referendum in the United Kingdom.
Even before the Brexit vote took place on June 23, M&A activity was already muted, with the first six months of the year totaling up to $1.32tr in global deals, down from $1.81tr in the same period last year. The January-March quarter saw deals worth $633bn while the April-June quarter fared slightly better with $688.7bn worth of deals.
The biggest deal of the year so far was in the chemicals industry, the purchase of Switzerland’s Syngenta by China National Chemical Corporation for $45.9bn. The next two biggest transactions were from the pharmaceuticals space, where Shire from the Republic of Ireland and Abbott Laboratories in the U.S. bought Baxalta and St. Jude Medical for $35.2bn and $29.9bn, respectively.
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