Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity surged globally in the first quarter of 2021 to a year-to-date record, as companies and investment firms rushed to get ahead of changes in how people work, shop, trade and receive healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic. While the number of deals was up only 6% from a year ago, the total value of pending and completed deals rose 93% to $1.3 trillion, the second-biggest quarter on record, according to data provider Refinitiv.

Dealmakers said a boom in the stock market and low borrowing costs – driven by the Federal Reserve’s loose monetary policies – emboldened companies, private equity funds and blank-check acquisition firms to pursue their dream deals. This is despite the global economy’s failure to have fully recovered as yet from the virus’ financial fallout.

“This is as robust and broad-based an M&A market as I have witnessed in the last 20 years,” said Colin Ryan, co-head of Americas M&A at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. “We are in an environment where assets are scarcer than the available capital right now.”

“We are still in an uncertain world. The first half will look pretty strong in M&A but in the kind of world today, it takes a brave soul to forecast a $4 trillion-plus market for the year,” said Mark Shafir, global co-head of M&A at Citi. Around half the deal activity came from United States where volumes were up 160% year on year at $654.1 billion.


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Source: BNN Bloomberg

Reporting by Joshua Franklin in Boston and Pamela Barbaglia in London; Editing by Matthew Lewis