On the heels of a record-setting year for merger and acquisition activity, global deal activity stayed hot to start this year, according to data from Refinitiv.
Through the first two months of 2022, global M&A totalled US$741 billion, the firm reported — representing the second highest total since records began in 1980, trailing only the US$761.7 billion worth of deals generated in 2000.
In February, there was US$296.7 billion worth of deals announced, down by 33% from the previous month.
The biggest M&A market, the U.S., saw deal activity decline by 28% in February, compared with the same month last year.
Refinitiv reported that there was US$171.2 billion worth of deals involving a U.S. target in February 2022.
Cross border M&A totalled US$213.7 billion during the first two months of 2022, which was down 1% from the same period last year.
The real estate sector led the way in deal value in February, with deals totalling US$65.4 billion in the month, up 100% from January.
The tech sector remained tops in deal volume, Refinitiv said. Through the first two months, tech M&A totalled US$187.4 billion, up 24% from the same period last year.
The data indicates that the fashion for deals involving special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) has dropped off sharply this year. There were just 11 acquisitions by SPACs in February, the lowest monthly total since July 2020.
And, SPAC deal value totalled just US$4.0 billion in February, down from US$106.6 billion in the same month last year, which was a record level.
For the year-to-date , SPAC deal value is down 85% from last year.
While SPACs have receded, private equity-backed M&A transactions ramped up in February, totalling US$88.3 billion, which was up 24% from January.
Through the first two months, PE-backed M&A was up by 20% year over year.
Refinitiv said that PE deals have accounted for more than 20% of all deals by value this year, which represents the highest share on record for these sorts of transactions.