Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity trended down substantially in the first quarter of 2018, according to data from Pitchbook. In North America and Europe, 4,867 M&A transactions were completed, representing approximately $617 billion in value, in the first quarter. Year over year, deal volume was down 18%, and deal value was down 25%. In just North America, there were 2,402 transactions with an estimated value of $323 billion.
Though deal count fell, there are a number of high-profile transactions that are announced but are awaiting close. Effects of tax cuts and large cash positions should continue to bolster M&A activity.
Business-to-business (B2B) and information technology (IT) sectors saw increases in their proportions of total M&A activity, at 19.5% and 38.6%, respectively. IT continues to play a large role in M&A, as innovation threatens the competitive landscape, forcing companies to invest more in research & development or acquire new or advanced technologies.