While equity investors had a brutal Q4, with the S&P 500 dropping more than 14% and giving up most of the year's gains, global M&A volume rose nearly 9% over the third quarter, with 2,762 transactions completed in Q4 2018, up from 2,542 in Q3, ensuring that 2018 ended on a positive note. Those solid Q4 numbers meant that for the year, worldwide deal volume rose nearly 2% overall, from 12,078 in 2017 to 12,309 in 2018.
North America ended the year once more as the dominant market with 6,727 deals closed in 2018, just slightly down 1% from last year's 6,801. The DACH region and the Nordics also dipped slightly, with the DACH region closing 1,295 transactions in 2018, down 3% from 1,331 in the previous year, and the Nordics closing 1,178 transactions in 2018, down 8% from 1,273 in the prior year. Meanwhile, the China & India and Iberia regions had a good year, as both saw narrow gains in M&A, up 2% to 641 from 628 for the China & India regions and up 5% to 666 from 631 for Iberia.
The most surprising annual number came out of the UK&I, where, despite all the anxiety around Brexit, mid-market deals actually rose sharply, climbing 27% to 1,802 transactions in 2018 from 1,414 in 2017.
The Global Acquirer Trends is a quarterly report focusing on M&A activity across key international markets.