We have further confirmation that global M&A activity is indeed picking up. According to the Mergermarket Q1 2014 trend report released today, April 1st, global M&A totaled US$599.1 billion in Q1 2014, up a sharp 33.2% from Q1 2013 ($449.6 billion). Furthermore, Q1 2014 global M&A was up 5.7% over Q4 2013, suggesting that this increase in M&A is more than just a temporary spike.

M&A Activity Mega Deal Trend

Mega deals

Much of the recent M&A activity has been related to a larger than usual number of “mega deals“. Eight mega-deals worth $166.3 billion were finalized in the first quarter. This represents the most $10 bil+ deals in the first quarter of a year since 13 large deals valued at a total of $315.4 billion were announced in 2006.

The mega-deals signed in the first quarter of this year accounted for a 27.8% share of global M&A, compared to $89.2 billion-worth of mega-deals representing a 19.8% share in first quarter 2013.

The average price for a deal in the first quarter was $374.4m, the highest Q1 average since 2009 and an impressive 33% greater than in Q1 2013 ($281.5m).

M&A activity by sector

The technology, media and telecommunications sector saw the most M&A activity in the first quarter at $176.1 billion, up 29.4% from Q1 2013 and the Q1 total deal value since 2006.

The technology sector was red hot. Technology sector M&A totaled $54.3 billion in Q1, the highest total for a first quarter since Mergermarket has been keeping records (2001). That represented a 55.1% increase compared to $35 billion in Q1 2013, and a 23.1% increase from $44.1 billion in Q4 2013.

The pharma sector also saw a major increase in activity. The Pharma, Medical & Biotech sector M&A total of $63.2 billion was more than four times the first quarter 2013 total of $14.2 billion.

M&A Activity Private Equity Exit trends

Private equity exits soaring

The Mergermarket report also highlights that private equity exits are hitting record-setting levels. “Private equity exits reached the highest valued opening quarter on Mergermarket record (since 2001) at US$ 111.9bn. The average deal size of exits reached the highest value on Mergermarket record for any start to the year in Q1 2014 at US$589.1m, 60.8% higher than the peak for this period in 2008 (US$ 366.3m).”