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Telecom M&A: Here Are the Latest Deal Trends Worldwide

Our quarterly update reveals that infrastructure and full assets divestments fueled an increase in telecommunications deal activity this year.

Interactive

Telecom M&A: Here Are the Latest Deal Trends Worldwide
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Facing unprecedented industry transformation and emerging competitive threats, many telecommunications companies are turning to mergers and acquisitions to add new capabilities and evolve their businesses for the next era. We’re tracking telecom M&A activity around the world, and each quarter, we’ll publish the latest developments in this dashboard.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the most recent quarters’ deals:

  • The deal-making recovery that began last year has gained momentum in 2021. The telecom industry generated $115 billion in deal value during the first three quarters of the year, a 17% increase compared with the same period last year (see panel 1 above). Most of the deal value continues to come from the Americas and Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, although Asia-Pacific’s share of total deal value increased by 13 percentage points year over year.
  • The three largest deals of the year so far (see panel 1) are emblematic of some of the industry’s most notable trends—namely, the growth of scale and infrastructure deals (the Rogers-Shaw and American Tower-Telxius Towers tie-ups, respectively) as well as the return of private equity to telecom M&A (Apollo Global Management-Lumen Technologies).
  • Looking at deal types, fiber joint ventures and divestments of towers and other telecom infrastructure, such as data centers, continued their strong run of the past five years as valuations remained high. In addition, the total value of full assets divestments and in-country scope deals each more than doubled through the first three quarters of 2021, compared with the same period last year (see panel 2). But in-country scale transactions are still the largest deal category by share of value, despite decreasing by 12 percentage points year over year. Meanwhile, after several years of growth, there have been no geographic expansion deals so far in 2021.
  • In-country M&A now accounts for about 55% of total deal value since 2016, mainly because of growth in scale and media extension deals (see panel 3).
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