The term Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) refers to the buying, selling, dividing and combining of different companies and similar entities by corporations, with the goal of growing more rapidly and efficiently.

Author: Gilly Wright, Valentina Pasquali
Project Coordinator: S.J. Yun

It is a trend spurred by increased global integration of the economy, which requires successful corporations to operate at a multinational level.

Ranking Value
Target Name
Target Nation
Target Macro
Target Mid
Acquiror Name
1 130100 Verizon Wireless Inc. United States Telecom Wireless Verizon Communications Inc.
2 27361.7 HJ Heinz Co. United States Consumer Staples Food and Beverage Investor Group
3 25531 Virgin Media Inc United States Telecom TelecomServices Liberty Global Inc.
4 19331.1 Omnicom Group Inc. United States Media and
Advertising & Marketing Publicis Groupe SA
5 19283.8 Dell Inc United States High Technology Computers & Peripherals Investor Group
6 16700 NBCUniversal Media LLC United States Media and
Broadcasting Comcast Group
7 15717.5 Portugal Telecom SGPS SA Portugal Telecom TelecomServices Oi SA
8 15367.6 Life Technologies Corp United States Healthcare Biotechnology Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc
9 14009 Westfield Group-Australian/NZ Australia Real Estate Non Residential Westfield Retail Trust
10 13248.5 Zoetis Inc United States Healthcare Pharmaceuticals Zoetis Inc
11 13025.4 Shoppers Drug Mart Corp Canada Retail Other Retailing Loblaw Cos Ltd
12 11708.3 CDC-SME Financing Business France Financials Other Financials France-SME Financing Business
13 11647.5 Bausch & Lomb Inc United States Healthcare Healthcase Equipment
& Supplies
Valeant Pharmaceuticals
14 11435.1 E-Plus Mobifunk GmbH & Co KG Germany Telecom Wireless Telefonica Deutschland Holding
15 10401.9 Cole Real Estate Investments United States Real Estate REITs American Rity Capital Ppty Inc
How do these deals relate to Economic Freedom?

According to Thomson Reuters of the top largest fifteen announced M&A deals in 2013, almost half (seven) involved telecommunications, media and technology companies (TMT), three were in the health sector, two in real estate and there was one apiece for the finance and food & beverage sectors.

There were 14 TMT mega-deals (above $5 billion), the highest number since the 21 mega-transactions in 2007. Transactions valued at $10 billion and above helped to drive US M&A volume in 2013. There were 12 such deals, worth an aggregate $367.4 billion, the highest volume of mega deals since 2008’s total of $401.8 billion, accounting for 31% of total US M&A. Deals valued between $1 billion and $10 billion, meanwhile accounted for the majority of US targeted M&A, at 37% of all deals.

Europe saw a 24% increase in deals valued over $5bn. In Asia Pacific there were 81 deals valued over $1 billion in 2013.

The biggest deal of the year — and one of the biggest of all time — was Verizon’s agreement to buy out Vodafone’s 45% stake in Verizon Wireless for $130 billion. More than a decade in the making, this is the third largest corporate transaction of all time, behind AOL’s merger with Time Warner and Vodafone AirTouch’s takeover of Germany’s Mannesmann.

The second largest deal of the year and the largest ever deal in the food sector is Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital’s $27.4 billion acquisition of Heinz.

Third was Liberty Global’s $24 billion deal to buy UK cable-TV and broadband provider Virgin Media, creating a much stronger rival to British Sky Broadcasting. The deal is seen as a stepping stone, as Liberty Global seeks to build a European pay-TV empire.

In fourth place and one of the biggest shocks of the year was the announced advertising agency mega merger between bitter rivals Publicis and Omnicom, although the deal was called off in May 2014.

At Five, is Michael Dell, and the private equity firm Silverlake’s buyout of Dell Computers for $25 billion is seen as a bit of a steal of the company began by Michael Dell at university.

Comcast’s buyout for General Electric’s remaining stake of NBCUniversal Media for $16.7 billion is at number six, and comes two years after the Philadelphia cable TV operator acquired a 51% interest in the media company.

At seven, is Brazil’s biggest phone company Oi Sa’s merger with Portugal Telecom for $17 billion, followed by Thermo Fisher Scientific’s acquisition of Life Technologies for $13 billion.