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2022 has seen a record first half for ASX mergers and acquisitions. Here’s the lowdown

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While ASX equity and credit markets deal with one of the worst starts to the year on record, it’s been an entirely different story over in investment banking land.

Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity has nudged past a number of records in the first half of 2022, according to data compiled by Refinitiv.

Fees alone are up 78% on the prior corresponding period, and deal volume was the highest on record.

M&A activity blew to new heights in the first half of 2022, according to data presented in the Australia Investment Banking Review First Half 2022 from Refinitiv.

There have been at least four deals announced so far above US$5 billion with a cumulative value of $52 billion, as of June 21.

Data compiled by Refinitiv showed it was a record period for Australia on many fronts.

Overall Australian involvement announced M&A activity amounted to US$103.5 billion in the first half of 2022, a 25.4% increase compared to the first half of last year, making it the highest first-half period since records began in 1980.

The ASX healthcare sector accounted for 23% market share of the deal-making activity by value and totalled US$24.2 billion.

This was underlined by the US$22.1 billion takeover bid for Ramsay Health Care Limited (ASX: RHC) by a consortium led by private equity giant KKR.

It is currently the biggest-ever healthcare deal in Australia, Refinitiv notes.

The energy and power sector followed with 16.6% market value, booking US$17.2 billion of deals, up 26.3% from H1 FY21.

What the report calls “high technology” saw the most number of deals, but captured 13.6% of deal market share.

“Based on preliminary data, Barclays currently leads the Australian involvement announced M&A league tables, with US$36.1 billion in related deal value capturing 34.9% market share,” Refinitiv also said.

Inbound M&A activity is also up 74% from last year, primarily from capital flows from the US. Meanwhile, there are several deals still pending, with only two showing completed on the data provider’s slide deck.

Nevertheless, it shows there’s been a spike in deal-making in Australia at the top end of town, suggesting the outlook for Australia might be quite robust, all things considered.

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