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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Global M&A and private equity broke all-time records in the first quarter of 2021, according to new data from Refinitiv.

Why it matters: If my morning deal-making newsletters have seemed unusually long, it hasn't been your imagination.

By the numbers:

  • Global announced M&A hit $1.3 trillion, the largest Q1 figure ever and the second-largest quarter ever. It's also a 94% jump from Q1 2020 and the number of deals increased by 9%. Overall, global M&A has experienced three straight quarters of $1 trillion+ activity.
  • U.S. M&A also hit an all-time Q1 high, with U.S. dealmaking accounting for 50% of the worldwide total. Asia-Pacific (ex-Japan) was up 48% year-over-year and Europe rose by 23%.
  • Cross-border M&A hit an all-time Q1 high of $458 billion.
  • Private equity-backed deals hit $249 billion, or 19% of the global total. That represents a doubling of value when compared to Q1 2020, while the number of deals was up 57%.

But, but, but... There are some signs of slowdown. Several IPOs either postponed or priced low in the last week, plus the Deliveroo aftermarket debacle. And the number of new SPAC formations has shrunk dramatically, suggesting that investors may believe their blank checkbooks runneth over.

  • On the other hand, this could just be bankers trying to get through stacks of old work before taking on new mandates, or folks planning Easter week holidays. I'm not brash enough to call a market top.

The largest global deal in Q1 was General Electric's planned $31 billion merger of its aircraft-leasing business with AerCap Holdings.

The investment banking league tables continued to be led by Goldman Sachs, but JPMorgan jumped Morgan Stanley for second place. Citi and BofA rounded out the top five.

Q1 2021 epitaph: Up and to the right.

Go deeper

Super typhoon Surigae explodes to Cat. 5 intensity

Super Typhoon Surigae seen on satellite imagery Saturday morning east of the Philippines. (CIRA/RAMMB)

Super Typhoon Surigae surged in intensity from a Category 1 storm on Friday to a beastly Category 5 monster on Saturday, with maximum sustained winds estimated at 190 mph with higher gusts.

Why it matters: This storm — known as Typhoon Bising in the Philippines — is just the latest of many tropical cyclones to undergo a process known as rapid intensification, a feat that studies show is becoming more common due to climate change. It weakened slightly, to the equivalent of a strong Category 4 storm, on Sunday.

3 hours ago - World

Biden adviser warns "there will be consequences" for Russia if Navalny dies

The Biden administration warned the Russian government "that there will be consequences" if jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny dies, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN on Sunday.

The big picture: Sullivan also defended President Biden for not mentioning Navalny in a Thursday speech about Russia or in a Tuesday call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying the White House aims to deal with the issue "privately and through diplomatic channels."

3 killed, 2 wounded overnight in Kenosha bar shooting

Three people died and two were hospitalized with serious injuries after a gunman entered bar in Kenosha County, Wisconsin, the police department said in a statement on Sunday. Police responded to the shooting at around 12:42 a.m. and the suspect has not been found.

The big picture: The midnight shooting is the latest in a string of deadly mass shootings to hit the U.S. since March, fueling a debate in Washington about how to regulate the weapons.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

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