M&A: largest acquiring countries worldwide 2018, by number of deals

According to the Institute for Mergers and Acquisitions (IMAA), the largest acquiring nation worldwide for M&A activity during 2018, by number of deals was the United States. During 2018, the United States was the leading acquiring country for cross-border M&A activity with over 4.7 thousand deals, accounting for almost 50 percent of the total cross-border deals made during 2018. The United Kingdom (UK) and France were the next largest acquiring nations with 775 and 448 deals respectively.

Acquiring industries

During 2018, companies in the financial industry were the biggest acquirers in terms of volume worldwide. The leading acquiring industry for M&A activity was the other financials (excluding banks) with approximately two thousand deals, with banks being the second largest acquiring industry. The most targeted industry during 2018 was the oil and gas sector, followed by banks and then power companies.

Cross-border volumes and values

Between 1985 and 2018, both the volume and value of cross-border mergers and acquisitions have increased dramatically as companies search for new markets, customer bases, and partnerships. Technology has allowed the business world to become increasingly smaller with global expansion far more reachable than ever before. In a survey conducted in 2018, the opportunity for growth in new geographies was the main reason for those considering acquisitions.

Largest acquiring countries for mergers and acquisitions (M&A) worldwide in 2018, by number of deals

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Release date

January 2019



Survey time period


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