Total value of M&A deals up 40 per cent

THE TOTAL value of global mergers and acquisitions (M&A) surged by 40 per cent in the first six months of this year as dealmakers returned to making transactions.

The value of worldwide M&A totalled $1.5 trillion (£934bn) in the first six months of this year, the strongest first half total since before the recession hit in 2008, according to Thomson Reuters.

Banks have benefited from the deals bonanza, seeing their combined total taken in fees increase by 18 per cent year-on-year to a massive $16.7bn during the first half of 2011, according to estimates by Thomson Reuters and Freeman Consulting.

Morgan Stanley trousered the most in fees for M&A advisory work, raking in $975.8m in fees in the first six months of this year.

The Wall Street bank toppled rival Goldman Sachs, the highest placed lender at this point last year, as the top bank for fees taken from completed M&A transactions.

Dealmaking has returned to global markets thanks to a surge in private equity M&A, the data show.

The volume of private equity-backed M&A deals worldwide shot up by 54 per cent in the first six months of the year compared to the same period a year earlier. The total value of deals hit $123.4bn, boosted by European buyouts.

Private equity deal making in the UK, Sweden, France, Italy and Germany has accounted for nearly three-quarters of activity in Europe so far this year.

The energy sector was the most active for M&A in the first six months of this year, accounting for 17.2 per cent of announced deals.