Block, formerly known as Square, announced it would buy Afterpay for $39 billion.
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  • Global merger and acquisitions over the past 12 months totalled around US$5.63 trillion (A$7.9 trillion), smashing previous all-time records
  • M&A activity increased by 63 per cent in 2021 to smash pre-global-financial-crisis record of US$4.42 trillion ($6.2 trillion) in 2007, according to Dealogic
  • In Australia, Afterpay’s (APT) $39 billion sale to US fintech Block, formerly known as Square, was the biggest local deal of the year
  • Tech and healthcare remain the hottest sectors for M&A activity, while an abundance of capital was credited for the overall rise

New data shows global merger and acquisitions activity over the past 12 months totalled US$5.63 trillion (A$7.9 trillion), smashing previous all-time records.

According to figures from Dealogic, M&A activity increased by 63 per cent in 2021 to smash the pre-global-financial-crisis record of $4.42 trillion (A$6.2 trillion) in 2007.

Among the biggest deals inked throughout the year are AT+T’s planned merger of WarnerMedia and fellow entertainment business Discovery for US$43 billion (A$60.4 billion).

In Australia, the biggest acquisition was Afterpay’s (APT) $39 billion sale to US fintech Block, formerly known as Square.

The deal looks set to be completed shortly, with Block shareholders signing off on the biggest acquisition in Australian history.

More recently, healthcare giant CSL (CSL) announced it would buy Swiss-based pharmaceutical company Vifor Pharma for $16.4 billion.

Dealogic has credited the rise in M&A activity throughout 2021 to an overabundance of cheap capital as well as high valuations.

The technology and healthcare industries were noted for being two of the hottest sectors for activity, consistent with previous years results.

In Asia, the overall volume of deals rose 37 per cent to US$1.27 trillion (A$1.7 trillion) by mid-December, according to the research firm.

While in the US, the region managed to double its mergers volume to $2.61 trillion (A$3.6 trillion) and Europe jumped up 47 per cent to $1.26 trillion (A$1.7 trillion).

APT by the numbers
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