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After a rough start to the year due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the global merger and acquisition business is off to a strong third quarter, with record “mega deal” activity in July and August, according to new data from Refinitiv.

In a report, Refinitiv said that there have so far been 21 so-called mega deals — deals valued at at least US$5 billion — worth a combined US$256.0 billion in the third quarter, which represents a record start to the second half.

There were nine mega deals announced in August, which is the second highest total on record, topped only by August 1999.

Strong deal flow in the tech sector led the way in August, Refinitiv reported, accounting for 27% of global M&A activity. Six of the 10 largest deals in the month involved tech sector targets.

Even with the strong deal activity in July and August, global M&A through the first eight months of the year is down by 31% from the same period last year, Refinitiv reported.

The U.S. is leading the decline, with deal activity at its lowest level in seven years through the first eight months of 2020, Refinitiv said. Total deal value is down by over 50% from the same period a year ago.

In the Asia Pacific region, deal activity is actually up 9% from a year ago, and in Europe it’s up 2%, the report noted.