The 5 Biggest Business Buyouts of 2014

By Annifer Jackson

Businesses across the world engaged in $3,230 billion-worth of merger and acquisition (M&A) activity in 2014, just 11.8 percent less than 2007, before the global financial crisis.

And despite the current gloom surrounding the Eurozone economy, now partially fuelled by the collapsing price of oil, M&A deals across Europe rebounded strongly in 2014.

Data released by Mergermarket shows that such business climbed to $901.4 billion last year, a massive 40.5 percent increase on 2013 ($641.4 billion), with the volume of deals up by 4.8 percent to 6,094. This translates into a great increase in the average price being paid for a company ($365.4 million, a seven-year high).

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In Spain, blighted by economic decline since 2008, signs are positive, for the $57.2 billion-worth of M&A deals in 2014 represented an increase of 77.1 percent.

The top five deals involving Europe-based companies include:

  1. Medtronic Inc (USA) bids for Covidien Plc (Ireland – pharmaceuticals): $45.9 billion
  2. Holcim Ltd (Switzerland) bids for Lafarge SA (France – construction materials): $39.6 billion
  3. Walgreen Company (USA) bids for 55 percent of Alliance Boots GmBH (Switzerland - health): $23.8 billion
  4. Altice SA (Netherlands) bids for SFR SA (France – technology): $23.1 billion
  5. Novartis AG (Switzerland) bids for the Oncology division of GlaxoSmithKline Plc (UK – pharmaceuticals): $14.5 billion

Globally, the biggest deals are dominated by American firms. These include:

  1. Comcast Corporation (USA) bids for Time Warner Cable Inc (USA – Technology): $68.5 billion
  2. AT&T Inc (USA) bids for DIRECTV (USA – Technology): $65.5 billion
  3. Actavis plc (Ireland) bids for Allergan Inc (USA – pharmaceuticals): $63.2 billion
  4. Kinder Morgan Inc (USA) bids for 88.6 percent of Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP (USA – energy): $58.8 billion
  5. Medtronic Inc (USA) bids for Covidien Plc (Ireland – pharmaceuticals): $45.9 billion

In terms of financial advisors, Goldman Sachs (378 deals totalling $940 billion), JP Morgan (275 deals totalling $698 billion) and Morgan Stanley (285 deals totalling $694 billion) make up the global top three for 2014. The same companies are also the top three in Europe.

For a look at the detailed Mergermarket report please see the PDF here.

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