2021 was a standout year for M&As – with over 38,000 deals worth $3.8tn

With 2022 having already seen the huge Microsoft merger — a deal that GlobalData analysts note is the biggest tech merger ever — 2022 is set to follow 2021’s trend of high-value deals, says GlobalData.

The data and analytics company notes that the number of merger and acquisition (M&A) deals valued over $1bn rose by a staggering 62% in 2021, compared to 2020—reaching 825 deals. The total deal value for 2021 was $3.8tn.

Sapana Maheria, Practice Head of Thematic Research at GlobalData, commented: “When it comes to M&As, the motto seems to be ‘go big or go home’ for 2021, with total deal volume jumping up 38% year-on-ear (YoY). This healthy growth was to be expected following COVID-19, which left organizations realizing they need to digitize to stay relevant and meet the needs of a flexible-work workforce. Increased demand for remote working, home deliveries, automation, online streaming and digital payments increased the relevance of technology themes such as AI, ecommerce, fintech, healthtech, and digital media.”

GlobalData’s latest report ‘Global M&A Deals in 2021 – Top Themes by Sector’, notes that technology, media, and telecom (TMT) continued to be the biggest sector in terms of both M&A deal value and volume—with 12,585 deals worth $1.27tn recorded in 2021. However, it was the automotive and healthcare sectors that witnessed the highest growth in year-on-year (YoY) deal value in 2021, at 108% and 94%, respectively.

Maheria continues: “Across the industry, automakers and suppliers are announcing bold strategies to pivot away from producing combustion vehicles and toward electric models. This has seen many companies race to secure vital supplies of batteries, EV components, and the raw materials needed to create them.”

Sapana Maheria, Practice Head of Thematic Research at GlobalData, commented: “While technology themes continued to play a prominent role in driving M&A deals across all sectors in 2021, themes such as ESG also gained traction, with many large deals announced—the Veolia and Suez merger worth $23bn in the power sector; KKR’s acquisition of ERM for $2.9bn; or Lucid Motors merging with Churchill Capital, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), in a $4.6bn deal. This is only set to continue, with 65% of respondents to a GlobalData survey noting that ESG it is ‘very important’ to business decisions.”