LONDON Global mergers and acquisitions (M&A) have hit nearly $200 billion so far in August, $77 billion shy of the record set in 1999 for what is typically one of the quietest months of the year, Thomson Reuters data shows.
The $197.6 billion of deals appears to vindicate analysts and bankers who have spent months predicting an upturn in M&A, as cash-rich corporates regain confidence, the economic backdrop improves, and banks are increasingly ready to lend.
This week has also seen the highest value of announced deals since November -- when Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc (BRKa.N)(BRKb.N) agreed to buy rail company Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp, in the billionaire investor's biggest-ever takeover.
This month's deals include:
BHP Billiton's (BLT.L)(BHP.AX) $39 billion hostile offer for Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc (POT.TO), the world's largest fertilizer firm.
Intel Corp's (INTC.O) $7.7 billion offer to buy antivirus software company McAfee Inc MFE.N, the chipmaker's biggest-ever deal.
And RSA Insurance Group PLC's (RSA.L) 5 billion pound offer to buy rival Aviva's non-life units, which Aviva has rejected.
(Reporting by Quentin Webb; Editing by Simon Jessop)