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EMAILED ON January 4, 2018 BY Zachary Crockett

2017 was the biggest year in history for mergers and acquisitions

According to data from Thomson Reuters, 2017 set a record for most mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in a calendar year.

Worldwide, more than 50k deals went down, worth in excess of $3.5T. More than a quarter of these (13,024) were in the US, up from 11,470 in 2016.

The 3 biggest deals closed in 2017:

  1. $34B: Telecom giant CenturyLink merged with service provider Level 3 Communications, making it one of the nation’s largest network service providers.
  2. $15.3B: Intel acquired Israel-based machine learning company Mobileye in a bid for autonomous driving technology.
  3. $13.7B: Amazon snatched up Whole Foods and immediately proceeded to slash prices by as much as 40%.

Then there were the smaller (but no less important) deals, like Verizon acquiring Yahoo for $4.5B and Google buying some of HTC’s assets for $1.1B — plus the major deals, like Disney’s purchase of 21st Century Fox assets ($52.4B in stock), which have yet to close.

So, what’s the real deal here?

We didn’t just witness a new record in the number of deals closed last year: we also saw an 11 year-high in the number of high-dollar deals (between $1B and $5B).

Of course, that can partly be attributed to inflation — but it’s also a sign that even large, high-valuation companies are getting gobbled up by a few titans of industry, which are increasingly consolidating their power.

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