Energy deals buoy best quarter for M&A in two years

THE?VALUE?of global mergers and acquisitions (M&A) has hit $1,678bn (£1.068bn) so far this year, up 21 per cent from the same time last year, Thomson Reuters said in its review for the third quarter of 2010.

Third quarter activity is up 6.8 per cent from the previous quarter at $599bn, marking the strongest quarterly growth for worldwide M&A since the third quarter of 2008.

Driving the deal flow was the energy and power sector, with $349bn of deals announced in the first nine months of 2010, up 65 per cent on the same period a year earlier.

M&A deals by US firms have also seen an encouraging rise in deals over the past nine months, reaching a total of $576bn, up 13.7 per cent from the first nine months of 2009.

Third quarter activity this year remained stable, down one per cent from the previous three months at $201bn – yet this represents a 41 per cent rise from the third quarter of 2009. Despite positive global figures, European M&A announced in the third quarter of 2010 was worth a disappointing $144bn, down 15 per cent from the previous quarter.

Wall Street investment banking giant Goldman Sachs took the top position in the global M&A advisers’ rankings with 255 deals, up from second last year, ahead of Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan.

In Europe, JP Morgan leads the rankings for the first nine months of the year, up from ninth place last year.

The most high profile deal of the year, worth an estimated $43bn, is the ongoing takeover attempt of Potash Corp by BHP Billliton.