Despite volatile markets driven by political upsets (the UK’s Brexit vote, a turbulent US election season), 2016 was a big year for mergers and acquisitions. In fact, global spending on M&As for the year is at about $3 trillion, on pace to be the third-best year for M&As in the last decade, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
• AT&T in October reached an agreement to buy Time Warner for $85.4 billion in a deal — still pending — that would transform the phone company into a media giant.
• Bayer announced plans to acquire agrochemical company Monsanto in December for $66 billion to create a giant in the world market for seeds and pesticides; the deal still requires regulatory approval to close as expected in late 2017.
• Qualcomm in October agreed to acquire NXP Semiconductors for $38.5 billion, the latest deal in the rapidly consolidating chip industry.
• CenturyLink agreed to buy internet-service provider Level 3 Communications — also in October, a big month for M&A announcements! — in a cash and stock deal valued at $34 billion, including debt, that will grow its broadband network.
• Biopharmaceuticals firm Shire acquired another biopharmaceutical company, Baxalta, in June for $32 billion. The deal adds to Shire’s capabilities in rare diseases.
• Softbank purchased British-based chipmaker ARM Holdings in September for more than $31 billion in order to enter the growing Internet of Things (IoT) market.
• Canadian pipeline operator Enbridge in September agreed to buy Houston’s Spectra Energy for $28 billion; the deal, which will create the largest energy infrastructure company in North America, is still pending.
• Microsoft officially closed on its acquisition of social networking company LinkedIn in December for $26.2 billion. The software giant hopes to find sales opportunities by connecting with LinkedIn’s vast network of professionals.
• Regulators are poised to approve Abbott Laboratories‘ purchase of heart-device maker St. Jude Medical for $25 billion. Abbott, a top manufacturer of healthcare products, is making the deal to bolster its cardiovascular products.
• Sunoco Logistics made plans to acquire Energy Transfer Partners (responsible for the controversial construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline) for about $20 billion in November 2016. The deal will combine and simplify a network of giant pipeline firms.
Amy Schein is an Industry Specialist at First Research, where she covers various aspects of the media industry. She earned her BS and MA in media studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Follow Amy on Twitter.