$1.39 trillion of global M&A deals in first half the lowest since 2012

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The value of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) fell 50 per cent in the first half from the year-earlier period to the lowest level since the depths of the euro-zone debt crisis, as the Covid-19 pandemic brought global deal-making to a halt.

The coronavirus situation has made face-to-face meetings, a lifeblood of M&A, all but impossible. Little more than US$1 trillion (S$1.39 trillion) of deals have been announced this year, making for the slowest first half since 2012, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The sharpest fall has been in the Americas, where the value of deals is down 69 per cent in the first half.

While every major industry has been hurt, the financial sector fared better than most. It was boosted by insurance brokerage Aon's US$30 billion offer for Willis Towers Watson and Morgan Stanley's proposed US$13 billion acquisition of E*Trade Financial Corp. The top three advisers on deals targeting the Americas so far this year were Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs Group and JPMorgan Chase & Co, the Bloomberg data showed.

Deals involving targets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) are down 32 per cent. Large transactions that helped prevent a more dramatic drop include the US$19 billion leveraged buyout of Thyssenkrupp's elevator unit by Advent International and Cinven.

There was also a flurry of activity in the Middle East, including Abu Dhabi's sale of a US$10.1 billion stake in its gas pipeline network that ranks as the biggest infrastructure transactioRead More – Source