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Expand chart

Data: Dealogic; Includes deals whose targets are North American and publicly listed companies; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

In terms of the number of deals, mergers and acquisitions activity is off to the slowest start since 2015. But the deals that have been made this year are much bigger than before.

By the numbers: According to data prepared for Axios by Dealogic, public North American companies have announced 53 deals so far this year — fewer than the 81 in the same period last year.

  • But the deals are valued collectively at $279 billion, outpacing the valuation of deals announced within the same timeframe in the past 5 years.
  • Top executives only expect the numbers to grow: 76% of M&A executives at U.S.-headquartered corporations and 87% of M&A leaders at domestic private equity firms project the number of deals their organizations close over the next year will increase, according to a recent survey by Deloitte.
  • 7 in 10 respondents say they expect the size of those transactions will be larger than the ones brokered in 2018.

Between the lines: The deals so far this year are beating records within their industries.

  • Newmont Mining's $10 billion all-stock takeover of Goldcorp is the biggest deal in the gold sector ever, per Reuters, and would create the world's biggest gold miner.
  • The BB&T-SunTrust tie-up, valued at $66 billion, is the biggest bank deal since the financial crisis.
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb said it would buy Celgene in a cash-and-stock deal worth $74 billion — one of the largest healthcare takeovers of all time.

The bottom line: "Choppy financial markets, trade tensions and fears of an economic slowdown hampered deal makers" a bit in 2018, the Wall Street Journal notes. Those same risks could still dampen the deal activity we've seen so far in 2019.

Go deeper: Half of the 10 biggest bank mergers have resulted in name changes

Go deeper

Cuomo: "No way I resign" after sexual harassment accusations

Cuomo at a Feb. 24 press conference. Photo: Seth Wenig/pool/AFP via Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) was defiant on Sunday, stating again that he would not resign even as more former aides have come forward with allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior.

The big picture: Cuomo has denied all sexual harassment allegations against him and said that he "never inappropriately touched anybody." He acknowledged in a statement that "some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation." Some of the calls for Cuomo to resign have come from within the Democratic party.

N.Y. Times faces culture clashes as business booms

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

New York Times columnist David Brooks' resignation from a paid gig at a think tank on Saturday is the latest in a flurry of scandals that America's biggest and most successful newspaper company has endured in the past year.

Driving the news: Brooks resigned from the Aspen Institute following a BuzzFeed News investigation that uncovered conflicts of interest between his reporting and money he accepted from corporate donors for a project called "Weave" that he worked on at the nonprofit.

America rebalances its post-Trump news diet

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Nearly halfway through President Biden's first 100 days, data shows that Americans are learning to wean themselves off of news — and especially politics.

Why it matters: The departure of former President Trump's once-ubiquitous presence in the news cycle has reoriented the country's attention.