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

Telecommunications M&A deal values fell in the first quarter, blunting the momentum from last year’s surge.

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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. At the same time, in the biggest industry reset since deregulation, the integrated telco is giving way to more disaggregated, narrowly focused business models. 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:

  • After mounting a comeback last year, telecom M&A momentum slowed in the first quarter of 2022. Announced deal values dipped to about $26 billion (see panel 1 above). That’s less than half the amount generated in the first quarter last year and less than a third of deal values in the fourth quarter of 2021. But this decline comes with an important caveat: Deal values were reported in only three of the 20 Americas-based transactions we tracked during the first quarter of this year, making the full global picture less clear. Still, most of the deal value continues to come from Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, which collectively have held the largest share of value of any region each year since 2018.
  • Looking at deal types, full asset divestments were the only category in which global value grew year over year in the first quarter (see panel 2). In-country scale transactions accounted for about 61% of global value during the quarter despite this category of deals declining in value by 45% year over year. The largest announced deal of the quarter was an in-country scale transaction (see panel 1); Orange and MásMóvil announced they’re in exclusive discussions to merge their Spanish businesses to expand their fiber-to-the-home businesses and 5G networks.
  • In-country M&A now accounts for slightly less than half of total deal value since 2016, mainly because of growth in infrastructure deals and full asset divestments (see panel 3).
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