US tops cross-border M&A list by value and volume, but lags behind in terms of growth in 2019

The US occupied the top position in terms of outbound and inbound mergers and acquisitions (M&A) deal volume and value in 2019. However, it lagged behind some of the top ten countries, in terms of volume and value growth, in 2019 compared to 2018, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

M&A Outbound

The US witnessed more than 1,500 outbound M&A deals worth US$209bn in 2019. The disclosed deal value increased by 46% in 2019 compared to 2018, while deal volume increased by 8%. Top target destinations (in terms of deal volume) for US outbound transactions were the UK, Canada, Australia, Germany and India.

The US was followed by the UK (in volume terms), which registered more than 900 outbound M&A deals worth $45bn in 2019. Though the UK topped in terms of volume growth in 2019 and witnessed 22% growth in deal volume, deal value plunged by 55% compared with 2018. In volume terms, the US, Hong Kong, Germany, Australia and Ireland accounted for most of the outbound acquisitions by the UK-based companies.

The Netherlands registered the highest growth in deal value in 2019 compared to 2018. The US, Germany and the UK were the most preferred target destinations for Dutch companies, in terms of outbound acquisitions volume.

M&A Inbound

The US also led the way in inbound M&A activity, with more than 1,300 transactions amounting to US$186bn in 2019, followed by the UK and Canada. However, the country witnessed a 16% decline in value and marginal decrease in deal volume in 2019 compared to 2018. The decline can be attributed to conflict and deteriorating trade relationship between the world’s two largest economies, the US and China.

Aurojyoti Bose, Lead Analyst at GlobalData comments: “Heightened scrutiny of foreign investments in the US by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) also dented the country’s attractiveness. For instance, during 2019, CFIUS urged Chinese firm Beijing Kunlun Tech to divest Grindr.

“On the other hand, China’s inbound M&A deal volume increased by 16% in 2019 compared to 2018. However, it registered a decline of 6% in value terms.”

The Netherlands registered the highest growth in inbound M&A volume in 2019, mainly driven by a legal and regulatory conducive landscape, and tax structure.

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