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Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Global deal-making smashed all-time records in the first half of 2021, as numerous trends converged into the perfect surge.

By the numbers: Deal volume topped $2.82 trillion between January and the end of June, with over 28,000 deals announced, according to Refinitiv.

  • That represents year-over-year increases of 132% and 27%, respectively.
  • The prior record-holder for first half deal volume was 2007 ($2.35 trillion) and for deal number was 2018 (around 26,000).
Expand chart
Data: Refinitiv; Chart: Axios Visuals

What's happening? Cheap debt. Corporate cash at record levels. Private equity dry powder at record levels. FOMO. Accelerated U.S. deal-making because of Biden tax pledges. Simultaneous beliefs that pandemic plays are sticky and that reopening plays are undervalued.

  • Plus, and this cannot be emphasized enough, a bull public equities market that has lifted all valuation boats. Being worth $1 billion in 2021 isn't nearly as impressive as being valued at $1 billion just a couple of years ago, but it sure pretties up the aggregate numbers.

More data: Global private equity deals totaled $512 billion, up 152% from the first half of 2020.

  • U.S. deal-making dominated, with a 48.2% market share ($1.36 trillion). This is a flip from 2020, when Europe had a higher H1 market share.
  • Tech deals had a 23.5% market share, with industrials in a distant second place at 10.8%. In the first half of 2020, financials had led.
  • The first half's largest announced deal was the Warner Media/Discovery merger.
  • Goldman Sachs remained atop the M&A advisory league table, with JPMorgan jumping from fourth to second place.

The bottom line: There's no indication that the first half deal-making drivers will abate in the second half, which means that the future will either be about an exogenous event or to the moon!

Go deeper

Over 130 countries agree to deal on global corporate tax rate

OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann. Photo: Dimitrios Karvountzis/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development on Friday announced that it had reached a deal on global corporate tax rates.

State of play: Over 130 nations backed a 15% minimum global tax rate after years of negotiations. Smaller countries — such as Ireland, Hungary and Estonia — were against raising corporate tax rates because international businesses were attracted in locations that had lower tax rates, per CNBC.

Oct 8, 2021 - Politics & Policy

No one likes the debt deal

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell walks though the Capitol on Thursday. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The leaders of the Senate were happy Thursday with their deal to avoid a debt default. They were about the only ones.

Why it matters: The Band-Aid does nothing to solve the debt ceiling problem long term for Americans. Democrats fear it only kicks the can down the road to a very busy December. Republicans, meanwhile, are mad their party blinked.

Taking stock of the market's roller coaster week

Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

The stock market roller coaster ride this week was real.

Why it matters: This year was on pace to notch a rare milestone: a full 12-months without a pullback of more than 5% in the S&P 500 — until this week helped tip it further out of the running.